Welcome to the official website of
author of Cloak of Obscurity.
The evolution of Edward:
While an undergraduate English Major at Duke, I was very involved in campus science fiction fandom. I wrote a lot of fan-fic some of which found its way into 'zines, but most of which I just shared with my friends. By the time I graduated, though, I was getting tired with the primary limitation of media tie-in type writing, which was: I would write some brilliant (to my mind) piece of character development, only to have a new episode/new movie/new novel come out that would totally contradict my work, pull the rug out from under my universe, and generally shoot my plotline all to hell. I realized that it wasn't the specific series themselves, or even Science Fiction, that I was interested in. It was the characters, and the relationships, and the way the characters related to each other while out Saving The World/Galaxy/Whatever From Evil.
So I started writing an original fantasy novel, which I called The Dragon's Apprentice, about a young girl apprenticed to a wizard who found herself battling an army of mind-controlled cannibal elves and (as if that wasn't enough of a problem) pregnant out of wedlock.
It was awful. After a couple of rejections, I'd gained enough perspective to see that this was that dreaded creature, The First Novel. The plot lacked cohesion (you could tell I'd made it up as I went along). Entire chapters existed for no other reason than to work my SCA buddies into the story. The motivation for the antagonists was shaky, at best (Mind-controlled cannibals? Please!). The main villain wasn't even named--and the Big, Brewin' Mysterious Evil has been done (and done, and done) before, so I needed a better reason for trying it again than "it'll be explained later." So I stuck the draft in a drawer and concentrated on other writing (see below).
However--the story had its good points, most notably that it was <not> fan-fic, but set in an original world that continued to evolve as I continued to
think about it.
That first summer, there wasn't much to him. He was a shy, dweeby, nebishy professional wizard (my world has such things) with holes in his shoes and very little rent money. I sent my first couple draft chapters to a friend, and her response was very like a shrug. She was more interested in my media tie-ins. At the time, so was I. So Ed got shelved--but he wouldn't stay on the shelf. He very literally grew on me--he went from being, in the first draft, about five foot ten, to about six foot five in the final version. Don't ask me what he weighs. He refuses to tell me (though I'm sure it's nowhere near as much as he fears).
For the next several years, I kept thinking about Edward, and writing odd bits of short-story in an attempt to get to know him better. The best of those was one set during Ed's childhood. I've decided to use it as the prologue to my second novel, but it can stand on its own, so I've included it on its own page on the site. Enjoy.
"In the Court of the King" got such a positive response from the people I showed it to I decided to go back to the murder mystery idea, re-write the first couple chapters (now that the characters and I knew one another), and finish the book. I self-published Cloak of Obscurity in 2002, by taking the manuscript down to the local business printer. And I started work on the sequel.
Now I can tell you that self-publishing is not a cost-effective proposition, so my current goal is to find a publisher willing to pick up my novels. At this point, Ed has taken over my life to the point that I have the first novel done, a second in draft form, am starting on the third, and have plot sketches for at least five more. In the meantime, I've been selling copies of Cloak of Obscurity at science fiction conventions, SCA events, and by mail.
My other writing:
I mentioned my work in fanzines. Around the same time I was slogging through the Dragon's Apprentice draft, I met Peter Shweighofer, who, at the time, was editor of the Star Wars Adventures Magazine put out by West End games as a companion piece to their line of RPG's. He looked at some of my amateur stuff, liked what he saw, and hired me to free-lance short stories set in the Star Wars galaxy for the Journal. One of my stories, "Slaying Dragons", was reprinted in the paperback anthology Tales from the Empire. It's under my maiden name, "Angela Phillips," and though it may not have made me rich and famous, it can still be found on the shelves of Barnes & Noble's, and it did pay for my wedding dress.
My other passion is dolls and miniatures. I design doll patterns, and have written how-to articles for Soft Dolls and Animals! magazine.