Transitions and Changes

I’ve always been very open and honest in regards to my journey as a writer. As I begin another phase of my professional career, I thought it only fitting to share these new challenges as I always have.

On Monday morning, I’ll be going back to a full time job for the first time in almost two years. As much as I have loved living the dream I’ve had since I was in High School, it’s no longer economically feasible to support my family on the royalties from my books. I had to make the very difficult decision to abandon my life as a professional writer and do what’s best for my family.

That being said, the last two years have been an amazing experience, and I want to thank every single person who has read my books. You’ve enabled me to fulfill a lifelong dream.  How many people can say they’ve been able to live their dreams? I’m incredibly lucky and so, so thankful that I’ve been able to do this. It’s something that will remain with me for the rest of my life.

So what does that mean for the future of Solendrea and the rest of the stories I have to tell? Not much. I wrote Swordmage, Darkest Hour, and Pegasus while holding down a full time job. I can handle new books with the same aplomb.

Obviously, writing will take longer and new books will take longer to be published, but I hope that you will find them worth the wait. In the meantime please recommend the current books to anyone you think might enjoy them. It would be a huge help.

Thanks for your support, both past and future.

Best Wishes,

Martin F. Hengst

10 Hours Left! Enter Now! $100 Pathfinder Roleplaying Sweepstakes

Pathfinder SweepstakesJust a quick heads up: we’re down to the last 10 hours remaining to enter to win more than $100 in Pathfinder roleplaying products. If you’re interested in roleplaying games, or know someone who is, be sure you enter and share your lucky link with your friends. Each time someone uses your link to sign up, you get more chances to win.

Enter here:

Pathfinder Roleplaying Pack Sweepstakes

Pathfinder SweepstakesIf you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you probably already know that I’m an avid gamer as well as an author. I love games of all sorts…cards, board, roleplaying…but I especially love games that have some sort of magical element to them.

In that respect, some of my favorite games are the fantasy-based roleplaying games and card games like Magic the Gathering.

So when I decided that I wanted to do another giveaway, I thought about the kind of people I wanted to gear it toward and it made the most sense to aim it at people just like me…people who love fantasy and games and magic.

So here we go. Until March 20th, you have an opportunity to win my largest giveaway yet. A set of three Pathfinder roleplaying books. Enter below…and be sure to use your special link to refer your friends. The more people you refer, the more chances you earn to win.

Click here to enter:


I have a love-hate relationship with ebooks, here’s why…

For as marvelous as ebooks are and discounting the fact that I make a living writing them, there’s a big reason I hate them too. Here’s why…

I love ebooks. Don’t get me wrong. There’s a lot to love.

There is something to be said for being able to carry 500+ books around in my backpack in the form of a Kindle that weighs less than a magazine. That’s beside the fact that I write books for a living and ebooks account for 99.5% of my sales. That alone would be reason enough to love them.

However, for all the many reasons there are to love ebooks, there’s still a part of me that hates them.

Allow me to demonstrate.

crystal1This is my paperback copy of Crystal Singer by Anne McCaffrey. I picked it up a used book sale when I was in high school…so it’s old. Really old. It’s ratty and torn, a lot of the edges are ripped. Its pages have been chewed on by bugs over the years. Even so, I’ve read it probably a hundred times.

crystal2 I love the book and it shows. It looks like it has seen more than its fair share of battles, but every crease and tear, every borehole and dogeared page, is a mark of love. When you open it up, there’s a musk of old ink and paper that’s like a lover’s perfume. Heady and intoxicating.


That’s what I hate about ebooks. Not that they aren’t real, or that the people, like myself, who specialize in them aren’t proper authors…but that they don’t have the physical presence of a paper book. Unless something remarkable happens in the near future, they don’t have that smell that only comes from a lifetime spent in loving hands.

They don’t show the scars of how often they’ve been read and enjoyed. You’ll never see a battered old ebook and wonder who has held it, who has loved it, and what they were going through when they read it. Did they turn to its yellowed pages in times of pain for comfort and solace? Was it just a story to while away the time? Was it a familiar place with familiar friends that felt warm and welcoming regardless of the fact that it was just a work of fiction?

That makes me a bit sad…and no matter how much I love ebooks, there will always be a part of me that hates the reality all the same.

That’s why I make a paperback for each ebook I write. Sometimes, you just want to feel the texture of the paper on your fingertips as you get ready to cross over into a land of make believe.



The Broken Tower – Magic of Solendrea #7 Now Underway

WriterI just finished the rough draft of the first chapter of The Broken Tower, the 7th book in the Magic of Solendrea series and the 2nd book in the Second Swordmage Trilogy. Get ready for more adventures with Tiadaria, Jonah, Faxon, and more.

Also, remember that Volinette’s Song is $1.99 (down from $3.99) for the next 17 hours and change. If you haven’t grabbed it yet, do so!


Volinette’s Song : Countdown Deal : 2/16 – 2/20

Volinettes-Song-smallCoverVolinette’s Song, the first standalone novel (and #4 timeline) in the Magic of Solendrea series, will be on a Kindle Select Countdown Deal this week from 2/16 until 2/20.

The price starts at 0.99 and eventually goes back to its regular retail price of 3.99, so the sooner you snag a copy (or tell your family or friends to) the more you save.

Don’t miss out on this limited-time opportunity to get a great book for a great price.

Click here to buy your copy from!


Volinette Terris has everything most girls could want: a famous family, plenty of money, and a career as a talented musician. No one would expect her to risk losing it all to try and become a mage, but when the School of Sorcery opens for the Trial of Admission, that’s exactly what she does.

If only she’d known that winning a place in the Academy of Arcane Arts and Sciences would be the least of her problems. Now she finds herself accused of murder, tormented by her fellow students, and implicated in the theft of a mystical artifact that could bring about the end of the world.

And that’s just the first semester!


And now…back to our regularly scheduled programming…

It’s been awhile since I posted an update, so I figured it was about time to get back into the swing of I Love Writingthings. There are a couple reasons for the uncharacteristically long bout of radio silence. I’ll touch on both of them briefly.

If you follow the self-publishing industry at all, you know that the end of 2014 was not good for many indie authors, myself included. Book sales have dropped dramatically. No one really knows why, but the end result is that I’ve had to go back to working a day job part time to make ends meet. This obviously slows down my production schedule when it comes to writing and networking as an indie author.

Don’t get me wrong…I’m thrilled that I was able to make a living as an author for as long as I did. Many, some would say most, authors never get a chance to make a living doing what they love. Not only did I get to do it, but I got to do it as my sole source of income for over a year. Since it’s always been a dream of mine to write for a living, I’m overjoyed to have gotten the opportunity.

That being said, my schedule will be impacted by the fact that I’m no longer able to write full time. More Solendrea stories are coming, but you might have to wait a little longer for them. I’ll do my best to make sure they’re worth the wait.

Now for the second reason I’ve been quiet for so long: I’ve been trying to decide what to write next. I have so many ideas that it’s hard to commit to writing just one. Not only do I have the sequel to Pirates to write, but I’ve also got the second volume of Volinette’s story, plus two other non-Solendrea books to write.

In the end, I think I’ve decided to work on the next book in Tiadaria’s story. I’ve even got a title picked out for it. So look forward to Book 2 of the Second Swordmage Trilogy coming soon: The Broken Tower.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I promise not to let things go quite so long next time. Feel free to stop by the comments and tell me what you’re looking forward to reading the most.


Spending Time with Family and Great Stories

The time around Christmas is my favorite time of year. Mainly because I intentionally take some time off from working to spend time with my wife and kids, and my parents, and there’s just something magical in the air around this time of year.

One of my favorite parts of taking this time off is that I get to recharge my batteries and spend some time enjoying the stories that other people tell. Over the past few days, Barbara and I have been catching up on some great movies (and one really bad one) and I thought I’d share a few that are worth watching.

Fair warning: all four of these movies are pretty dark and some of them have some disturbing imagery. If you’re sensitive to that sort of thing, you might…actually, you will want to give these a pass. If you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty, by all means, check these out. Worth the watch.


How I Live Now is a dark love story set among a raging war and nuclear fallout. It isn’t your average love story, but it’s a powerful one nonetheless. A young girl from America is sent to live with her extended family in Great Britain just before a war breaks out and a nuclear weapon is detonated over London. What happens next is a harrowing story of escape and survival. Although I’m not sure you could say this movie has a happy ending, it was a good film and I really appreciated the story.


The Returned is probably the best movie on this list. It’s dark. It’s disturbing. It has an ending that surprised me and it isn’t often that a movie will do that. A different type of zombie movie, The Returned features zombies that walk among us every day, turned back to humanity by a wonder drug that’s now running out. It was a great movie and I was pleasantly surprised by it. Definitely check it out if you’re a fan of dark movies without much humor.


I wasn’t sure about Snowpiercer at the beginning. The title didn’t do much for me and I passed it a few times in the Netflix queue before I finally decided to read the Wikipedia entry for it. I ended up reading the ending, so I went into Snowpiercer already knowing how it wrapped up. It was going to have to be a pretty good movie to make up for the fact that I already knew how it was going to play out. Fortunately for me, it delivered. Probably my second favorite of the three movies I’ve mentioned here, Snowpiercer has a great story, is fantastically directed, and has some great moments of post-apocalyptic imagery for other end-of-the-world junkies like me. I highly recommend it. Check it out.


Edited to add: I can’t believe I forgot Equilibrium! Barbara reminded me that we watched this too, and it was awesome. Christian Bale isn’t Batman, but he sure does a good job of fighting like him. Equilibrium is a great movie. Watching Bale’s transformation from the beginning to the movie to the end is an outstanding ride. The action sequences are, admittedly, over the top, but I don’t feel that it detracted from the message of the movie or the enjoyment. The message was a bit heavy handed, but it was a great movie that I’ll probably watch again just for the last half an hour or so.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I’m gearing up to get back to work on my own stories, but I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve liked over the last couple days in case you’re looking for something to watch instead of going out to party on New Year’s Eve.


New Book Available Today: What I Wish I’d Known

WIWIKCover3DThis won’t be of much interest to the folks who read my fiction work, but it might be valuable to any author friends who visit my page. I’ve just published a new book called What I Wish I’d Known: Tips for jump-starting your self-publishing success. These are all the things I wish I’d known when I was just starting out self-publishing. I think there’s some useful information in there and certainly some things that I didn’t understand or know about when I was starting out.

Hopefully it will help some of you getting started.

You can grab a copy (with free goodies) here:

If you’d like to help me spread the word, please click the Tweet link below. Thanks!