Thursday, April 17, 2014


The paperback edition of Scout's Honor, A Tale From The Deadlands is currently in the works. Revised by yours truly with all new illustrations by the super talented Dar Parsons. In regards to the revision, nothing major has been changed. The story is still 99% the story as originally published.

Keep in mind, though, that this was my first published book (meaning I was feeling self-conscious, intimidated and overwhelmed by this massive beast called publishing), and I was writing against a deadline. Because of this, the resulting material, in my opinion, is a bit stiff and awkward in places. But the biggest complaint I have received from readers is that, though they enjoyed the overall story, they had a hard time getting through the opening chapter.

Rereading the story, I immediately saw what the problem was. The first chapter is pure exposition. Instead of getting the story rolling right out of the gates I have the main character expounding for countless pages about who he is and where he comes from. Not exactly edge of your seat excitement, I know. Please forgive me. I was younger then. Time and experience have allowed me to see the light.

Now that I have a couple more books under my proverbial belt (meaning that, though that massive beast called Publishing still looms over me, I have learned to stave off its advances with the point of my well-sharpened pencil) I decided the time was right to go back and do a polish on the book that started it all.

The first chapter has now been integrated into the rest of the story, allowing it to flow more naturally. We begin with events already in motion; the characters are established and the action is set to take off. The back story is then divided up and peppered here and there throughout the first two chapters. Hopefully (can't express that word enough), this will allow the readers to ease more comfortably into the world of Sidoria and its many strange, indigenous lifeforms. I also took the opportunity to fix a few awkward word choices and stilted paragraphs.

The result is a story I am more comfortable with asking people to pay their hard earned money for. A fun, fast paced, action adventure story in the same vein as Robert E. Howard's Conan stories, or Edgar Rice Burroughs's Warlord of Mars series (not that I'm conceited enough to compare my fledgling writing abilities to these great wordsmiths of the fantasy genre, more that their great work is what I'm aspiring towards).

And if the story was getting a makeover then why not the illustrations too? As with the prose, the artwork was a rushed job to beat the curse of the ever present deadline. Dar Parsons's work on the Deadlands series has grown by leaps and bounds in just over a couple of books. Not to say what he had originally produced for Scout's Honor was substandard, he just knew he could do better. Now he's had a chance to prove it, and brother (or sister), let me tell you, he delivers big time.

So, that is my long-winded explanation for the revised edition of Scout's Honor, A Tale From The Deadlands. Think of it as a 'director's cut' if you will. The creators' preferred edition of their work. We're excited with the upcoming paperback (and ebook version) and hope you will be too. Thank you for your time and happy reading.

--Jeremy Lee Riley

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