OF STAVES AND SIGMAS is a transworld phantasy tale that follows psychiatric patient James Wagner's mystically compelled break from contemporary earth to mediaevalesque Ergos, where through long and unremitting ordeal he is forced to consider the inconceivable: that his lifelong madness was less a psychological sickness than it was a visional prelude to the astonishingly palpable reality that has suddenly supplanted his earthly existence. Marooned on a backwater world of warring, of brutality and bondage and bloodshed, a world of multifarious creatures both human and bestial, it will take every bit of Wagner's courage, cunning, and perseverance to find his way, to find his freedom, and ultimately to find himself.

From his earliest recollection, James Wagner possessed his own ilk of second sight. Living in one world, he was occasionally meted a vision or two of another place, another realm, where life was a canvas painted by an entirely different brush. Unable to suppress or frustrate these often violent visitations, Wagner instead inured himself to them, even as they became gradually more invasive and disruptive with each passing year. By the age of twenty-seven, he'd already been long in downward spiral -- professionally, socially, holistically. Lost jobs, failed relationships, unfulfilled potential -- anything that had ever held promise in his life was inevitably sabotaged by an inner chaos that, in its burgeoning insidiousness, had actually somehow manifested an alter ego, a crazed Other, who usurped the reins of Wagner's livelihood for hours at a time, turning an already disastrous existence into a danger to Wagner and to those around him.

Finding some small comfort under the institutional roof and wing of Dr. Jonathon Mazzio, head of the Howsley Centre for Mental Health, both men soon become chagrined and astounded by a phenomenon that refuses to subside, and that indeed begins devouring Wagner's subsistence with ever greater voracity. Only an unexpected, eleventh-hour visit from a wayward prophet bearing odd, mystical insight seems to shed light on Wagner's malady -- and this, too late to affect or assuage it. From there, Wagner is well and unstoppably unto becoming Voknor; his earth, given up for Ergos, the world of his visions; and while the abandoned are left behind to ponder his fate, Wagner must contend with a severely archaic and draconian realm of strangely pre-gleaned convolution and culture, with denizens both multifarious and malfeasant, and a future already written in foresight, yet truly as ungraspable as the time he lost.


Digital images by Chip Boles (www.chipboles.com), Jim Larkin, Eugene Tokarev, iconspro, and Geoffrey Verdegast; adaptations by Pomeroy41144.

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Scary as it may be, this is a pretty accurate rendering...
So, why the odd title for Book One? In retrospect, I realise that perhaps it wasn't the most forward-thinking of choices. It doesn't exactly roll off of one's tongue, which makes it awkward when people approach me and say: "You wrote a book? What's the title?" Beyond the "Sally sells sea shells" cumbrousness in uttering it aloud, it's more in the looks of bewilderment that I get when these same inquirers try to make sense out of what I just rattled off. "What's a stave?" "What's a sigma?" Then they usually act as if their cell phones are ringing or they forgot to do something really important, followed by them subsequently ducking out of the conversation -- mostly because they know and I know that they'll never remember it anyway.
In staunch defence of the appellation, however, outside of just being a rebel and a stubborn old goat, I suppose the truth is that  I simply  got tired of seeing  so many other titles in the genre that follow such a kindred titling format, with only their key words swapped out for whichever fancy nouns the respective authors (or publishers) chose to plug in. Shadows of Fernhaven. The Blood-Mists of Grunfallon. Darkling Keepers of the Lore. The Spells of Orc Moon. Maybe these faux titles sound okay to you -- and, true, they'd be perfectly fine and appropriate were they actual books -- but with all of the "mists" and "lore" and "shadows" and "spells" and "orcs" incorporated into titles out there, I needed something that rejected the mold while still touching upon the story's main enigmas. After all, my "series" title (Souls of Ergos) already falls uncomfortably close to the aforementioned norm, so I didn't exactly need the redundancy of another such heading. Did I choose wisely? I can't say just yet. In all likelihood, it may have come at the forfeit of something cooler and catchier. No matter. After reading OSAS, the oddness of the title won't matter, because its meaning will have settled into place like a sound foundation. The good part, then, is that if you liked it, you'll get a turn at going through the verbal unwieldiness of referring it to the next guy.
To coincide with my decision to assume total control of my work, the Third Edition (street date: 8/17/2011) of OSAS boasts a spanking new cover, produced with flair and vision by artist extraordinaire, Chip Boles. Chip, an extremely talented fellow who happened to be in Japan at the time that I contacted him, agreed to take several weeks out of his demanding schedule to revamp Book One's look. This was a huge coup and milestone for me, and I'm currently negotiating for Chip to stick around for the subsequent books so that we can build a truly appealing and recognisable continuity into the look of the SOE series from here on out. While I did enjoy crafting my faux Penguin Classics-style cover at the beginning of my publishing journey (see First & Second Editions below), Chip is easily a thousand times more polished and talented in design than I am, and by his agreeing to come on board I'll be free to devote more of my time to getting this narrative finished. To see Chip's impressive catalog of work, click here!
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Of Staves and Sigmas -- Third Edition -- Geoffrey Verdegast -- Cover Art by Chip Boles: www.chipboles.com
Of Staves and Sigmas -- Third Edition -- Cover by Chip Boles (www.chipboles.com)
Of Staves and Sigmas -- First Edition
1st Edition
ISBN: 9781598582925
2nd Edition
ISBN: 9781598582925
3rd Edition
ISBN: 9780983453901
BOOK ONE
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