The Man With The Obsidian Eye

There is a story that is told
Of a man with an eye of cut obsidian
Sharp as an elder’s arrowhead,
Lashed to the shaft of a stare
As solid as a shaman’s soul.

There is a story that is told
Of men who have tried to snatch that eye
Snatch the power of his stare
And steal a piece of that shaman’s soul,

And there is a story that is told
Of how those men died
At the point of spirit spears,
Their throats crushed
In the stony grip
Of his shaman’s soul.

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Walter Rhein

Walter Rhein is the author of Rhemalda Publishing's new Fantasy novel "The Bone Sword." Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing him! Check it out and pick up a copy of his novel today!

E.S.: So Walter, tell us a little about yourself.

W.R.: I graduated from college in 2001 with a degree in English literature and a minor in Physics. I started studying Physics because I got fed up with the subjective nature of English and I wanted to take some classes where I could just believe everything the professor said (and not get into any arguments). Also, I was getting a little fed up with people laughing at me for being an English major. In my opinion, English can be either the hardest major or the easiest, but it's kind of up to you to put the work in. However, it's been my experience that having some hard-core science on your resume isn't going to close any doors for you.

Actually, when you really think about it, Physics is the most philosophical science class you could take. Once you get into relativity and quantum mechanics you're basically just dealing with abstract models that require a lot of creativity to be able to discuss. I remember that I always wanted my teachers to explain how the universe looked from the point of view of a photon. They tended to get a little frustrated with me (apparently nobody had ever asked them that before).

After I graduated, I moved to Lima, Peru where I lived and worked for 10 years as a teacher, writer, and editor. I really didn't have a game plan down there, but I figured that if I was learning Spanish that pretty much justified the time I was spending. I'm fluent now.

In 2009, I got married to my lovely wife Zulma and we moved back to Chippewa Falls, WI. My wife wasn't all that happy with me during her first Wisconsin winter. On July 25, 2010, we had our first child, a beautiful baby that we named Sofia Aurora. Sofia is the goddess of wisdom and Aurora is the goddess of the dawn, so I like to think that her name means "dawn of wisdom." I told that to my uncle and he thought that was a lot to live up to. I suppose he's right, but no less than the names of goddesses were good enough for MY little girl!

E.S.: Very nice! Alright, how long have you been writing?

W.R.: I've been writing pretty much since I could first form letters. I had my first story published when I was a Freshman in high school. There was a little magazine we were all submitting to (at the urging of our teacher), called "The High School Writer." I was the first in my grade to get something published in there.

I majored in English Literature, so that required a lot of paper writing. Any writing is good practice, but writing college papers isn't the same as creative writing. Actually, by the time you're done putting together all the necessary mechanical components of your typical college paper, there's no space left over to say anything original. Initially it was my idea to write a novel as my college thesis, but then they told me I couldn't since I was a Literature major and not a Creative Writing major. To this day I don't understand the logic of how somebody who has studied novels is not qualified to write one...but whatever. I decided to write a novel anyway. That first one wasn't very good, but it's got its moments. If you write me and ask for it, I'll send you a copy (

After that, I wrote a TON down in Peru. I've worked for several magazines and ezines as an editor/contributor. There are short stories of mine floating around all over the internet under various names. I prefer novels though, there's more room to stretch out and make yourself comfortable.

E.S.: That's definitely one of the nicer things about novels. Speaking of novels, what can you tell us about your book?

W.R.: I'm starting to think of "The Bone Sword" as a kind of counter-culture fantasy. Rhemalda Publishing is a small publisher and they're not quite so concerned about churning out cookie cutter fantasies. That being said, "The Bone Sword" isn't avant-garde. There is plenty within the book that fans of fantasy will enjoy and appreciate. However, when the time comes for my characters to make the hard decisions, don't be surprised if they go at right angles to what you were expecting.

That's really the fun of small-press books, sort of like how Indie films are more fun than the studio blockbusters. You KNOW what's going to happen in a Indie film, however, is pretty much guaranteed to surprise you.

Essentially though, I was just looking to write an action packed fantasy that will keep readers on the edge of their seats! I hope I succeeded, and the initial reviews seem to suggest I have.

E.S.: Excellent! Okay, so tell me: what do you think the future has in store for the written word?

W.R.: That's an interesting question and it's certainly open for debate. Movies are so darn advanced now that you've got to write a pretty compelling book in order to compete (it's not like they're hanging paper plates off fishing poles and calling them "flying saucers" anymore). In addition to that, video games are becoming amazing, and interactive online games like World of Warcraft are taking fantasy entertainment into whole knew planes of existence.

Still, I think the written word isn't going to go away. To make a movie, you still need a script, and although they might not call it a script in an interactive online fantasy adventure, there must be some kind of written template used at some point in the game's construction. So, at least in that sense, the written word will always be necessary.

All that being said, I don't think the novel as an art form is going to disappear anytime soon. In fact, with devices like the Kindle and the iPad, novels might be on the verge of experiencing a surge of popularity. I'll start being worried when they have an all video upload version of Facebook (shoot...maybe I should invent it

E.S.: Even then, the world will need writers, I suppose. We always find a way to survive. Which reminds me, as a published author, what kind of advice would you give to other writers, especially those who are just getting started?

W.R.: I think the most important thing to understand is that it's all about cultivating a following. There are a lot of people sitting around "theorizing" as to what makes great writing, and those people are always going to be critical of everything you produce. We've all heard the stories about how many times various books get passed on by publishers before they finally find success. To be honest, I probably would have passed on "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" (and I would have been an idiot...but what can you do?). If you can get 20,000 people to buy your book, then you're a successful writer no matter what anyone says. That may seem like a big number but when you consider that there are something like 7 billion people in the world, a mere 20K is hardly a drop in the bucket (.000003% of the global population).

So take advantage of all the various social media sites out there (Facebook, Twitter, Digg, etc.), start a blog, and (above all) be NICE to the people who track you down and contact you. In fact, see if you can get THEM to start raving about you on THEIR blog and Facebook page (these things tend to snowball).

Rejection is simply going to happen in the writing business, so recruit an army and make it IMPOSSIBLE for publishers to reject you (threaten them with virtual force if you have to...but never stop writing)!

E.S.: Great advice, definitely! Anything else that you’d like to add?

W.R.: First of all I'd just like to thank you for taking the time to interview me! I appreciate it! I encourage anyone who reads this to look me up and send me an email ( or to friend me on Facebook ( ) or on digg ( ).

I also have a couple blogs you might be interested in. My fantasy blog is called Swordreaver ( ) and I have a travel blog called Streets of Lima ( ). These tend to get updated pretty regularly as I'm a writing junkie (if I don't get my 2000 words a day I start shaking and drooling).

Also, don't forget to check out "The Bone Sword!" Here is the Amazon link for Paperback:

And Kindle:

Thanks again for the interview!

E.S.: My pleasure Walter. I'm looking forward to reading your book! Let us know when your next one hits the shelves!

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