Okay, I’ve done two trade shows/conventions so far, Comikaze Expo in Los Angeles and the Alternative Press Expo (APE) in San Francisco. By far the most common question I have gotten (in between getting enormous praise about the awesome cover art and the freaking ridiculously cool emerald dragon) is, “Just what exactly is the Emerald Tablet?”

Ah, the mysterious Emerald Tablet—it has gone by many names in the past. You may have heard of it referred to as the Smaragdine Table, Tabula Smaragdina, the Secret of Hermes, the Book of Thoth or the Emerald Tablets of Thoth. They are all the same thing. To understand what the Emerald Tablet is, you must understand basic Egyptian mythology and ancient Egyptian religion.

Thoth was rumored to be a man who was from the mythical and fabled city of Atlantis (yes, that Atlantis). He brought all of the secrets and knowledge of Atlantis with him to ancient Egypt and was revered as a god, so much so that they called him divine and made him the god of wisdom and magic! But he was more than that. He supposedly wrote the secrets of the universe down in the Emerald Tablets (there were actually 13 or 14 of them). This earned him the title of the scribe of the gods in the ancient Egyptian religion.

Through the years and the blending of the Greek and Egyptian cultures, the Emerald Tablets were now purported to be authored by Hermes Trismegistus, who is essentially a fusion of the Egyptian god Thoth and the Greek god Hermes. They are, in fact, the same god as viewed by two different cultures (like Zeus is to the Greeks as Jupiter is to Romans).

Yes, yes, all this history is fine and good, but I still haven’t answered the question. What the hell is the Emerald Tablet? The answer: a written record of the secrets of the universe.

In its pages, if read and understood correctly, is the formula to take a mortal man (or woman, let’s not be sexist) into an immortal state. To turn a person divine, if you will, releasing the soul from the confines of the body and allowing it to travel through time, space, and alternate dimensions unencumbered. This, my friends, is true power and throughout history, people have killed to find the Emerald Tablet.

Alchemists like Nicolas Flamel, who was mentioned in book 1 of the Harry Potter series, The Sorcerer’s Stone (more on that later), purportedly used the formulas in the Emerald Tablet to turn any basic metal into gold and formed the foundation for modern chemistry.

But how does this relate to the book? I, as the author of the Legends of Amun Ra series, use the ancient Egyptian religion surrounding the Emerald Tablet and its secrets to weave a complex fantasy world filled with mythology, spirituality, adventure, mystery, and treachery for a fun and enlightening game of what if Thoth really did write the secrets to the universe down for us to find? And what if we found them?

Check out the website: www.legendsofamunra.com for more information on the book series.

P.S. This blog has been edited by my friend Joy. She wanted a shameless plug for her wonderful help so I have therefore obliged.

I decided to write about this topic because it’s been brought up a number of times by many friends and readers. As fledgling first-time writers or authors, whether your project is a comic book, graphic novel, book or script-writing  unless we are blessed by some miracle, we have to have a day-job (or someone to financially support us) while we are writing a book. This basically means you are going to be working two jobs for at least a year, or more likely three or four years, before you become successful enough to financially support yourself solely with your writing. And the second job will be one you don’t even get paid for, though it is something you want to get paid to do. This is not a “you’ll never make it big” post, but a sobering reality, even for me.

I started writing The Emerald Tablet in early July 2011. That’s when I first put pen to paper (actually fingers to keyboard) as it were. I finished the rough draft of the manuscript in late October 2011. From October 2011 through December 2011, I did edits, rewrites, and redrafting. Then, the book  went to my publisher and its editors where it spent the next 6 months in more rewrites and edits.

I started writing book two, The Soul of the World, in January 2012. I completed the first rough draft of that book in July 2012. Then I spent July through September 2012 doing rewrites, edits, and redrafting parts of Soul of the World. It is only now, in September 2012, a full eight months after beginning the book, that I handed it off to what will be another year of editing.

So you can see, there is some overlap there and a “fuckton” (yes, that’s a real word according to www.urbandictionary.com) of blood, sweat, tears, raw man-hours, and fights with your family or partner involved in these projects.

I did all this while I was working 40-50 hours a week with a wife. It was a beyond a delicate balancing act and I won’t mince words, there were times when there was a heated discussion or two with the Mrs. about “family time” verses “work time.” There just didn’t seem to be enough time for everything. But I also want to stress something else. Family time, if you have one, is EXTREMELY important. You don’t know now how much their love and support means. So you must make an effort to spend time with them, even though you may be thinking about work in the back of your mind. Be present. You do not want your family to end up resenting your project because you chose IT over THEM.

To help balance all my commitments, I made a schedule, and I stuck to it. I stress this—I RARELY deviated from my schedule. And in fact, it is a schedule I still use to this day.

  • Wake up at 6:30 a.m. and leave the house for the office by 7:00 a.m.
  • At the office by 7:30 a.m. I didn’t work on the book at all during work hours. I’m just not that kind of guy. But, that didn’t preclude me from working during my lunch break, which I did, for an hour at mid-day EVERY DAY, while I ate as quickly as possible.
  • Worked until 5:00 p.m., at which time, I would rush over to the gym to get an hour of something in.
  • I typically got home (with traffic and travel time), around 7:00 p.m. I committed myself to two more hours of writing work, from 7:00-9:00 p.m. It could have been writing book two or editing book one, but EVERY NIGHT I did an extra two hours of work minimum (sometimes I did three).
  • 9:00-10:00 p.m. or 10:00-11:00 p.m., would be scheduled family time with the wife. You know, we’d do the normal, sit at home and watch hours of Netflix because we’re hooked on a particular show (currently, it’s Burn Notice).

I rarely took a day off. I worked almost every Saturday for a minimum of 5-6 hours, and I worked most Sundays for A YEAR AND A HALF straight. If this seems callous to you, it probably is. But it was the only way I could stay sane and do what I had to do get my book done in the time I wanted to do it in.

I give you fair warning, be prepared to get calls from your parents bitching you out because you never see them anymore and they don’t feel like you’re part of the family. Take this in stride, they don’t mean it; they just miss your company. Also be prepared to get cussed out by your friends because you’re missing poker night, the barbeque party, the bonfire, the birthday party, happy hour, etc., and they think you have abandoned to them to some crap dream you have. Again, take it in stride. They’ll support you when the time comes. They are your friends and will remain so through your work. Try to keep up the communication with them; do the best you can. I preach balance, but you and I know, it’s a terribly difficult thing to achieve, time management. That’s why they have classes on it.

Knowing how hard it can be, I wish you the best of luck writing a book. The most important advice I can give is to keep writing. Write, write, and write, even when you feel like there is nothing to say. Write like your life depends on it because you’ll need that sense of urgency to keep going when you get discouraged, when your eyes want to close, when a warm bed and clean sheets look oh so comfortable.

“Some people dream of being something; others stay awake and are.” Author Unknown