I’m Writing for Dream Theater

astonishing-book-cover-mockup-fThe first thing you need to know is that Dream Theater is my favorite band. Ever.

It sounds a bit fanboy to say it like that, but it’s no less true. Now, having said that, it’s also true that my appreciation for metal, rock, jazz, Sinatra, and on and on, are all quite strong. Music has been central for me all my life. So much so that I spent several years in vocal training with Maestro David Kyle, who trained Geoff Tate of Queensryche, Layne Staley of Alice in Chains, Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart . . . you get the idea. And it led me to fronting a number of metal bands on small tours and at festivals in Europe.

All good stuff.

But music hasn’t become my bread and butter. That’s a familiar story for many.

Which brings me to fiction. Alongside my passion for music is my passion for storytelling. It’s another thing that’s been with me since the beginning. On that front, I’ve had a bit more success. I’ve had dozens of short stories published in professional anthologies. And I have a current epic fantasy series with Tor Books out of New York.

That series is entitled: The Vault of Heaven. I’m writing book three right now, but I recommend new readers start with book two, Trial of Intentions–it’s written as an entry point to the series and it’s my best book.

Unsurprising to anyone who knows me, my series features music prominently. In fact, fantasy writers like Brandon Sanderson and Robin Hobb have been quoted as saying they’ve never seen magic done the way I’m doing it–with music.

All of which brings me to my point. After some number of years, my two great passions have come together in a way I couldn’t have anticipated and about which I couldn’t be more happy.

I’m writing the novel to Dream Theater’s The Astonishing.

A little over a year ago, Dream Theater announced that they’d be doing a big double-CD concept album. Something science-fiction-y. After calming down, since I love DT, concept albums, and science fiction, I shot John Petrucci (Dream Theater guitarist) and Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater keyboardist) an email. Essentially, I pitched them on writing the novel of their concept album.

I was able to shoot these cats an email because I’ve had the good fortune of meeting the band a few times over the years. For a time I did the music marketing at Microsoft/Xbox. And along the way, I developed enough of a rapport with the guys that I could dash off an email when the time was right. I have some other stories about exchanges with James Labrie and Jordan and John. I’ve had the chance to share meals with them. But I’ll save those for another time.

Things proceeded at a slow burn for a few months. There was interest, but much to do. I put together a formal proposal and sent that over. John and I wound up on the phone for a couple of extended conversations. Ultimately, he liked the things I was saying, and invited me to write a sample chapter. An audition of sorts. John is really nice, but he’s sharp and driven. He had lots of options on who would write the book. And I personally know other writers who had made a similar pitch. Not to mention writers John already knew and liked.

So, I jumped at the chance to write a sample chapter.

For those of you who know the core story of The Astonishing, he asked me to write about the events in the song “The Savior in the Square.” I asked him if he wanted me to be slavish to his summary and lyrics. He said no, giving me license to invent things of my own.

So, I did.

New characters, new motives, new technology. All in the over-arching plot, but also introducing new subplots and scenes.

John loved it. When we spoke next, he shared all the things he liked about how I built upon his vision. He was sold.

Then, we set on the arduous journey toward a publisher and contract. We vetted several offers. And once we landed on doing it with the small press I’m a part of, there was the contract, which wasn’t easy. Mostly because there are publishing rights we had to think through.

But neither of us gave up. Because we believed in this book.

And then, just last week, the final executed contract was done, and we could turn toward telling everyone who’d listen that there’s going to be a novel of The Astonishing.

Which is precisely what this blog post is all about.

But let me back up a bit.

One of the hugely awesome elements of this process came after I sent John the sample chapter. He and I then spent seven or eight very long phone conversations crawling through his own written summary of The Astonishing.

He was on the road at the time, so these calls often started very late at night. Even so, they went for hours. John spent time providing context and color to each part of the original story. I asked questions. And then I’d come up with new ideas and rationale for things and run them by him on the spot. More than once we each got those goosebumps at the ways the story was evolving as I pitched him ideas for how the story would grow.

There are dream projects, right? I know writers who would sell their eye-teeth do a Star Wars book. Other writers live to do something with D.C. Comics or Marvel. And I wouldn’t hate doing a book for any of those IPs. But for me, I couldn’t have scripted a better match. I mean, anything music-related would have been awesome. Make it metal, and the awesomeness would triple. But make it Dream Theater, and it’s ALL the awesome!

So, now I’m writing the book. I’m working with John on all the cool extras that you get with the Limited Edition. This is going to be a beautiful book. And those extras I mention are exclusives. If your a Dream Theater fan, you’re not going to want to miss this one. And there aren’t many, so I’d encourage you to pre-order if you’re interested.

And if you need something to read in the meantime, and you like music, remember my own series has a ton of music in it, including a music magic system–either Trial of Intentions or The Sound of Broken Absolutes would be the place to start. In fact, in some ways, the music in my fiction is part of what helped John decide to give me the gig.

Then, if you’re interested, follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Twitter: @peterorullian and Facebook: www.facebook.com/peterorullian

I’ll be providing updates as I write the book. You can follow along as the project progresses and get a peek behind the curtain.

Stay metal!

Your Rock Lord,

Peter Orullian

My Emerald City Comicon Schedule, Yo

For those of you attending Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, here’s where I’ll be. Come by and we’ll talk about stuff.

51wDrDFJMWLHeya,

For those of you attending Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, here’s where I’ll be. Come by and we’ll talk about stuff:

Thursday, April 7

  • 5-7: Signing at the Wordfire Press booth, BB7-10

Friday, April 8

  • 10-3: Signing at the Wordfire Press booth, BB7-10

Saturday, April 9

  • 2-5: Signing at the Wordfire Press booth, BB7-10
  • 5:15-6:15: Creating Characters Smarter Than You Are, in W3A (Third Floor)
  • 7-11: ECCC Worldbuilders Tabletop Charity Party, Room 2AB (Level 2)

Sunday, April 10

  • 11-12: Signing at University Book Store Booth, Booth 5100
  • 12-1: Crafting Characters in Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Room W603
  • 1:15-2:15: Crafting Characters in Sci-Fi & Fantasy Author Autographing (Autographing Table 29)
  • 3-5: Signing at the Wordfire Press booth, BB7-10

I think that’s it. If there are any changes/updates, I’ll let you know.

Your Rock Lord,

Peter

 

Trial of Intentions Paperback Release Promotion

Anyone who picks up a copy of the paperback of Trial of Intentions will qualify to potentially win the following:

51wDrDFJMWLOkay, folks, I thought I’d do something for folks who decide to grab a copy of the paperback edition of Trial of Intentions, which just released.

There’s plenty of info about Trial of Intentions on my website or my Facebook page. Suffice to say that I wrote it as an entry point to my series, so no worries if you haven’t read anything by me before. And here’s what a few folks have said about the book:

Brandon Sanderson:
“Trial of Intentions is a grand novel, with strong world-building and a sweeping cast of distinctive characters. I can’t wait to see where Orullian takes us next!”

Robin Hobb:
“Trial of Intentions is a story of music and magic, of daring and sacrifice, in an intricate and believable world, where characters face difficult and heartbreaking choices. Orullian is doing things I haven’t seen in other books, including an original system of magic. This tale will resonate with readers long after the cover is closed.”

Tracy Hickman:
“Peter Orullian is a master of dark chocolate fantasy; bitter, harsh and sweet at once. Trail of Intentions grabs us firmly by the breastplate and challenges us to face a world of moral contradictions, stunning characters and harsh choices. An unflinching fantasy.”

L.E. Modesitt Jr.:
“Peter Orullian’s Trial of Intentions is a book enormous in scope and in intricacy, with a welter of political, cultural, and magical intrigues, behind which lies the role of song in preserving a myriad of cultures, all of which disagree with each other to some extent, even as it becomes apparent to the reader that, without some degree of cooperation, all will suffer, if not perish. A challenging story about challenged cultures, and one well-told.”

Booklist:
“Fans of George R.R. Martin or Robert Jordan will love Orullian’s intricate yet nonetheless immersive story.”

Now, let’s get to the good stuff.

Anyone who picks up a copy of the paperback of Trial of Intentions will qualify to potentially win the following set of books:

  • Signed Hardback of Trial of Intentions
  • Signed Hardback of the Limited Edition of the Author’s Edition of The Unremembered (not yet published, but coming soon)
  • Signed copy of my novella The Sound of Broken Absolutes (set in the universe of my Vault of Heaven series)
  • Signed copy of my short story collection The Vault of Heaven, Story Volume One (these stories are set in the same universe as my Vault of Heaven series)
  • Signed copy of my forthcoming story collection Beats of Seven (these are various science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories NOT set in my series)
  • Signed copy of my forthcoming story collection The Vault of Heaven, Story Volume Two (these stories are set in the same universe as my Vault of Heaven series)

Now, to make it even more interesting, I thought we’d do a progressive type thing. So, if we get two thousand folks to enter, I’ll add a high end gaming PC. This is the perfect marriage of my day job and my writing life. The gaming rig will have an Nvidia GeForce 980 series GPU, an Intel i7 series CPU, and more goodies. This is just the rig; you’ll have to hook it up to your monitor and accessories.

Here’s how you enter:

  • Email me copy or pic of your proof of purchase, e.g. receipt
  • Then when you have the book in hand, email me a pic of yourself with the book. Feel free to be creative here :)
  • We’ll run all this through the end of the day on Sunday, April 10th

My email is: info (at) orullian (dot) com

Please pass this along to folks you know, too. They may like the chance to win all the awesomeness above, right? Okay, here we go!

Your Rock Lord,

Peter

STORYTIME! TRIAL OF INTENTIONS IS OUT!

Well, folks, the day has finally arrived. TRIAL OF INTENTIONS is out! And as I’ve said before, if you haven’t read anything in my series, you can dive in with this one. I get you caught up fast.

As for other pertinent stuffs. Here are a few things that have been said about the book:

Robin Hobb:
“Trial of Intentions is a story of music and magic, of daring and sacrifice, in an intricate and believable world, where characters face difficult and heartbreaking choices. Orullian is doing things I haven’t seen in other books, including an original system of magic. This tale will resonate with readers long after the cover is closed.”

Tracy Hickman:
“Peter Orullian is a master of dark chocolate fantasy; bitter, harsh and sweet at once. Trail of Intentions grabs us firmly by the breastplate and challenges us to face a world of moral contradictions, stunning characters and harsh choices. An unflinching fantasy.”

L.E. Modesitt Jr.:
“Peter Orullian’s Trial of Intentions is a book enormous in scope and in intricacy, with a welter of political, cultural, and magical intrigues, behind which lies the role of song in preserving a myriad of cultures, all of which disagree with each other to some extent, even as it becomes apparent to the reader that, without some degree of cooperation, all will suffer, if not perish. A challenging story about challenged cultures, and one well-told.”

Also, the early reviews say some sweet things:

Elitist Book Reviews
“Orullian has found an untapped reservoir of talent in TRIAL OF INTENTIONS. Where THE UNREMEMBERED shines, TRIAL OF INTENTIONS transcends. Where THE UNREMEMBERED lagged or suffered, TRIAL OF INTENTIONS has displayed deftness that is far beyond its status as the second book in a series. Orullian is not just an author, but an artist. One of the rare writers, like Hemingway, Steinbeck, Lewis, and others, whose use of words, imagery, and literary techniques lifts him above his compatriots and peers into a category inhabited by the truly great.”

Book Frivolity
“This is one of the most wonderful, beautiful, yet emotionally brutal fantasy books I’ve read in a long time. It is, in my eyes, pretty bloody gorgeous on multiple levels . . . I loved it, I think any anybody that loves to explore the nitty gritty workings within a fantasy world will love it and anybody looking for the fantasy genre to be flipped on it’s back karate style will love it.”

Dragon Mount
“This was a great read, keeping in line with the epicness of the genre, and the complications expected from realistic characters. This series grows more in depth in each book . . . Orullian’s world is absorbing and I can’t wait to return to it again.”

Deseret News
“This is an immediately engaging series with interesting characters and story. There’s great detail in this world, which comes with unique rules of magic and science, and the characters are well developed . . . This book would appeal to fans of Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, J.R.R. Tolkien and Patrick Rothfuss.”

Also, I’ll be on book tour, starting tonight:

Tuesday, May 26
U Books, 7:00pm

301 S Campus Ctr, Seattle, WA 98195
(206) 543-6582

Thursday, May 28
Mysterious Galaxy, 7:30pm

5943 Balboa Ave #100, San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 268 4747

Saturday, May 30
Borderlands, 3pm

866 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 824-8203

Sunday, May 31
Copperfield’s Petaluma, 1pm

140 Kentucky Street, Petaluma, CA 94952
(707) 762 0563

Monday, June 1
Powell’s Cedar Hills Crossing, 7PM

3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd, Beaverton, OR 97005
(503) 228-4651

Tuesday, June 2
Weller Book Works, 6pm

607 Trolley Square, Salt Lake City, UT 84102
(801) 328-2586

Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Barnes & Noble, Orem, 7PM

330 East 1300 South, Orem, UT 84057
(801) 229-1611

The book is bookstores, of course. But if you’d prefer to order it online, you can do so:

Amazon
Barnesandnoble.com

And elsewhere . . . plus, if you’d like a signed copy, but can’t get to a signing, you can order one here:

Grim Oak

And so’s you know, I’m using Nightwish’s “Storytime” as my tour theme. Consider these lyrics from the tune as my matra:

I am the voice of never, never land,
The innocence of dreams from every man,
I am the empty grave of Peter Pan,
A soaring kite against the blue, blue sky,
Every chimney, every moonlit sight
I am the story that will read you real,
Every memory that you hold dear

Now listen to the jam:

I think that’s it for now. I’ll update with more later!

Your Rock Lord,

Peter

New Book Out Today (Sort of)

It’s a bit of deja vu, I guess. Because today the Author’s Definitive Edition of The Unremembered releases. “What does that mean?” you ask? Well, let me tell you.

It’s a bit of deja vu, I guess. Because today the Author’s Definitive Edition of The Unremembered hits bookstore shelves. “What does that mean?” you ask? Well, let me tell you.

Almost four years ago the original version of The Unremembered was published. I was ecstatic. It was the culmination of a lot of hard work, and, of course, a bit of luck. But all things in life have a number of “sides” to them, don’t they?

Without going into detail, let me just say that not all author/editor matches are made in heaven. As a result, not all authors and their editors share the same vision for a book. Perhaps this is no one’s fault. But it does mean that things change. And these years later, I have a new editor. These years later, there’s a new version of The Unremembered.

So, what’s different, you may then ask. Quiet a lot, actually.

Let’s start with the length of the book. Typically, Author’s Editions are longer. Given the chance to go back to a book, most writers add the stuff they cut the first time around. Stephen King’s Uncut version of The Stand comes to mind. That volume was roughly 300 pages longer. But with the Author’s Edition of The Unremembered, I cut. A lot. I suppose there’s a risk that I ditched things some of my readers liked. It might also be true that gone are things other readers didn’t care for. Regardless, I “killed my darlings,” as they say. I kept the stuff the story needed. The rest–beloved or reviled–is gone. The book is significantly trimmer, faster paced, more focused.

Next, I added things. I believe it was about 15K words, which is still a fraction of what I cut. But given the opportunity to more closely tie books one and two . . . well, who wouldn’t take the chance to do so. There are some new bits I think readers are really going to love, as well as some entirely new chapters, including a music magic scene that I WOULD LOVE to see in a movie!

As I worked through the text, I also brushed up the dialogue, cut exposition where I felt it needed it, warmed up characters as appropriate, removed things cryptic (if being cryptic was appropos of nothing), sharpened motivation, made more clear the “why’s” for doing things, etc., etc. You get the idea.

There are some more cosmetic changes, too. There’s a glossary, for folks who dig such things. I’ve added an exclusive short story, set in the universe of The Vault of Heaven. This story takes as a viewpoint character a creature from inside the Bourne–a creature who becomes a main character in book two, Trial of Intentions. In fact, Tor also put the first few chapters of Trial of Intentions in the back of this Author’s Edition of The Unremembered. So, that’s cool. You get a little taste of what book two is like. Plus, I went back and added epigraphs to every chapter in this edition of The Unremembered. I kinda dig epigraphs. Nice little world building tools.

Oh, and to distinguish all these stuffs, Tor has put a little yellow star on the front of the cover, which says: Author’s Definitive Edition. So, if you’re interested in picking up a copy, be sure to look for the gold star.

Now, I want to be clear about something. If you read the original version, you don’t need to read the Author’s Edition to move on to book two, Trial of Intentions. You’ll be just fine. In fact, because it’s been four years, I wrote Trial of Intentions as an entry point to the series. So, if you haven’t read The Unremembered, or just want to dive in with book two, that’ll work. I get you up to speed. That said, if you decide to start at the beginning, or if you want to re-read book one in preparation for book two, I recommend you read the Author’s Edition. It’s a stronger book. That simple. Plus, there’s all the things I added to knit the books more closely together. Plus, goodies.

There’ve been a few reviews, so far, too. (Thank you to the folks who emailed these to me.) About the Author’s Edition of The Unremembered, here’s what a few have said:

The original version of the book had quotes and other nice things said about it by the Library Journal (starred review), Terry Brooks, Kevin J. Anderson, Piers Anthony, Ed Greenwood, Anne Perry, and Brandon Sanderson. Gee, wonder what they’d think of the Author’s Edition. Heh.

Speaking of the Author’s Edition, a few nice quotes from the following folks:

  • “Intricately crafted with its own distinct melody, The Unremembered is a groundbreaking work of epic fantasy.” –Bookwormblues.net
  • “Sometimes you just need a big, fat fantasy, and Peter Orullian’s remastered edition of The Unremembered delivers everything you’re looking for: a fascinating world, tense action, charismatic characters, and a magic system the like of which you’ve never imagined.”—Aidan Moher, A Dribble of Ink, Hugo Award Winner
  • The Unremembered captures the unique essence and mystery of music, and weaves it into every line of a compelling and exciting world, while telling a character-driven story that resonates through the ages … a work of art on par with the masters of the genre, Jordan, Rothfuss, Tolkien, and more.” –Elitistbookreviews.com, nominated for 2013 & 2014 Hugo Award for best review site
  • “Engaging characters, complex magic, and expertly written—a whole new kind of epic fantasy!” –Suvudu.com

The Author’s Definitive Edition of The Unremembered is in bookstores today. If you have the hankerin’, run down to your local B&N, or whatever, and pick up a copy. Or, if you like ordering online, you can get it at Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com (these are direct links to the book on those websites), and other places online.

Remember, it’s got to have the gold star on the front. It’ll probably say Author’s Edition, or somesuch, too. It’s being released as a trade paperback, so I’m guessing it’ll run like $13–be sure it’s roughly that price, or you’re buying the old version of the book. There are ebooks versions, too, of course, though I hear Amazon has had some trouble getting their Kindle version of the Author’s Edition up–so you may have to wait a few days on that. And Tor is putting out the audiobook of The Author’s Edition on April 14, 2015–pretty sure that’s on Audible.

Effectively, Tor is relaunching my series, The Vault of Heaven. That starts today with the Author’s Edition of The Unremembered. And it continues next month, on May 26th, with Trial of Intentions. So, you know, you won’t have to wait too long between books.

Now, is this Author’s Edition of The Unremembered going to be ginormous and sell 100 million copies. One can only hope. What is true is that this is much closer to what I’d wanted to do the first time out. I’m grateful to Tor, and to my new editor, for giving me the chance to do it.

I hope you dig.

Your Rock Lord,

Peter