Sunday, January 29, 2023

The Worlds of Nicki Chapelway: Part Five Varelis


I haven't done one of these "Worlds of Nicki Chapelway" posts in a while, but with the looming release of An Apprentice of Death (February 13th is 15 days away!) I figured I should share a little bit about it, namely by sharing a glimpse into Varelis. A place that is arguably the most complex world I've ever created, so with all that said... let's get into this.

Climate and Terrain: 

Varelis is a large land that is divided across eleven houses (the equivalent of kingdoms), I would say that the majority of Varelis is forested or elevated in mountains or foothills, however Castrele is very much a water-locked kingdom. Drasson and Dramont also have their share of marshlands.

Varelis experiences four seasons: frostfall, springtide, eversun, and autumnglade. Although as you may have noticed from the northernmost part of the map, there is a frozen section. That's where a powerful, ancient water mage known as the Ice King found his eternal rest. His dormant magic continues to make the area near where he may be found frozen.

Creatures and Monsters: 

Varelis was originally the home of the elves, of which there were seven races: sun elves, sea elves, blood elves, death elves, kindred elves, dark elves, and wood elves.

At some point however, humans came from the East and settled in the south of Varelis

A time after that, human pilgrims sailed from the north seeking safety from religious persecution. They eventually broke into two houses, the House of Man and the House of Dragons.

Then it was discovered that the land under Varelis was also inhabited by dwarfs.

Now all these factions live together, not at all peacefully.

There are many monsters in Varelis. So much so that I couldn't possibly list them all here. However, I can name a few. There are dragons, of course, majestic creatures that have a special bond with one of the human houses. Goblins and gravellins, which are creatures that are a less intelligent form of goblin, both roam in the caverns under the mountains and the dwarfs are dedicated to keeping them at bay.

And then there are liches and wraiths, two forms of undead creatures. Wraiths are made such against their will and liches are powerful men who seek to use enchantments to help them find a way to cheat death.

Political Atmosphere: 

Varelis has no ruler, there is a high throne, but it is frozen in ice in the Ice King's lands. The eleven houses are all ruled by various rulers from a council to a jarl to being under the commands of the high priest. They operate separately from each other. Some such as the House Fraterya/Fate and the dwarven House Under the Mountain have little to no contact with the outside world, others such as Castrele and Balvlin clash far more noticeably and have been embroiled in a war for a good many years.

Each house is in varying states of decay and all are dealing with their own issues that could very well lead to their destruction.

The House of Death has already fallen and the question is which house will follow it down to the Nethers next.


Each elf is born with a heritage magic that compliments their house. For instance, sea elves are born capable of manipulating water and death elves possessing the ability to cheat death (at the cost of the last person that they touched) and so on.

Outside of heritage magic, there is really only one other form of magic and that is the kind granted to the Royal Blooded (also known as mages in the human tongue), these individuals are chosen by Regala the goddess of magic. One person is chosen from each house so there are eleven such individuals. They are the only ones capable of wielding spells (and the royal blooded from the human and dwarven houses are the only humans and dwarfs to possess any sort of magic), they are also the only ones who can vie for the high throne, due to the fact that they're the only people powerful enough to unite Varelis.


There are several elven gods, eight of the houses are dedicated each to a different god or goddess of the elves. Despite believing in all these gods, the elves and humans of these houses only ever serve their patron god. It is considered a heresy to follow a god outside of your patron.

The humans and dwarfs also have their own religions.

All, however, believe in a common afterlife: the Nethers.

Sound like a world you would like to know more about? Pre-order An Apprentice of Death and dive into the world of Varelis just in time for Valentine's Day!

Sunday, January 15, 2023

2023 Goals



That's my word going into 2023.

Hope is our four letter word. Make that money, watch it burn...

There are so many inspiring quotes and scripture verses surrounding hope, and yet what inspired me to choose that word as my word for 2023 was that line from Counting Stars, so yes, I'm going to go reconsider my priorities now...


I don't have too many goals for this new year, but I have a few big ones.

I'll start with a small one first though... be a bit more active, I have an unfortunately sedentary lifestyle. I need to remember to get up and stretch my legs more between writing sessions.

But on to my big goal of 2023...I want to break even on my books. Right now, I'm putting in more money than I get out of them. I want that to change this year. Last year was a huge writing year and I made so much more in royalties then than I've made any year previous. I want to build off that. Breaking even is the next big step in having a career as an author.

How do I intend to do that, you may ask?

Well, I'm planning on publishing seven books (for those of you who read my 2023 release post, yes that is one fewer than I originally said, I've decided to push back a couple of my Ruskhazar books because I realized that I was just absolutely flooding you with so many new Ruskhazar series. It was enough to make my head spin and I'm sure it wasn't any easier for you to keep straight).

I'm also planning to put out two new book bundles/omnibuses

I'm not really planning on doing too many more alternate cover editions. they just aren't earning out and I need to focus my time and resources on things that are. I plan on finishing the MTiA series since they all look so nice together. I'm still figuring out whether I'll do book 3 of Of Dawn and Fire in an alternate cover. On one hand, I don't want to not have the series completed, but on the other hand... that series really isn't earning out as hardback and I would just be sinking money in it if I go for it.

I'm also diving fully into Vella, it's my goal to release three books on that platform next year. For those of you not aware, Vella is a serial novelization site where books are updated weekly by episodes.

A few other things that I'm considering this year...

Attend a conference????

Get my book featured in a book box???

Be able to afford not to have to get a second job???

Release a special edition of one of my books??? (which differs from alternate editions because it will have bonus, exclusive content)

Another thing I want to note is that I will no longer be posting weekly to this blog. Since I'm going to be working on Vella stories and trying to write episodes for it weekly (for at least two stories, the other is already written and will hopefully be finished being edited by the end of this week as well) it's really just going to be too much to try to keep up with that all, my other writing schedules, posting on this blog, newsletters, Instagram, and the other gazillion things I have to do like eat, sleep, and live. So, I'm going to be posting less regularly on this blog. I'll start off with an every other week posting schedule and go from there to see what works out for my schedule.

So there you have it, my few and non-specific goals for 2023. Mainly it involves a lot of writing and remembering to stretch my legs. What are your plans for the new year?

Sunday, January 8, 2023

League of Thieves: A Character Introduction, A Cover introduction, and... a Second Cover Introduction?

It's feels so strange to be talking about League of Thieves in more than just a passing statement. It also feels strange to be introducing it. It was already introduced five years ago when I started writing it, but that was so long ago and I have been remiss when it comes to this story since then. And it feels even stranger to call it my Kindle Vella story.

And yet here we are. An introduction to LoT, my Kindle Vella story.

So, as I've stated already, this book is a Middle Eastern themed fantasy. I wrote it during my senior year of high school, I was doing world history that year and I was swept away by the history of the ancient Middle East and the rise and fall of nations such as Persia, Greece, Babylon, Assyria, even Rome and how they all affected each other, fought amongst each other, and even conquered each other. So, I created a world that was a big old mixing bowl where I blended together multiple proponents of what happened over the course of thousands of years and made them all happen at once. And so Iriale was born. I'll do one of my Worlds of Nicki Chapelway posts about Iriale someday, so I'll save all the technicalities till then, but what you need to know about Iriale is that it is a desert nation based off Rome and Persia that is bent on conquering the rest of the world.

True to its Middle Eastern roots, this story has a lot of inspiration from Middle Eastern tales and legends. Aladdin and the lamp, the forty thieves, with bits and pieces of Sinbad, and 1001 nights. There are jinnis and djinn in this world based off the ones found in Middle Eastern myths. There is a Library of Alexandira that hasn't burned down (yet). It also derives a lot of inspiration from one of my favorite movies of all time The Mummy (1999).

The story of League of Thieves itself revolves around a group of thieves (as the title would suggest). Evona and her brother Jokar have been petty thieves ever since their nomadic tribe was wiped out by Iriale's ever violent quest to expand its borders.

A picture of Evona, I don't really have a good one for Jokar
(image from Pinterest)

However, they've been offered a job that will be their chance to put their life of crime behind and finally live not just comfortably. They will be lavishly wealthy. All they have to do is steal a lamp for their employer.

However, mid-heist, Evona realizes that someone else got to the lamp before her. She is caught trying to escape and now everyone thinks that she has the lamp. While trying to skip town, Jokar and Evona are caught by the mercenary Radmir, a disgraced soldier who was hired by their employer to make certain that they don't leave him high and dry after they steal the lamp.

Radmir is the definition of burnt cinnamon roll
(picture from Pinterest)

Evona and Jokar are dragged back in front of their employer and since they don't have the lamp, things are about to end badly for them, but Radmir couldn't just let that happen so he stuck out his neck for them, convinced their employer that he needed the siblings to steal back the lamp. Now they have to find the thief who took the lamp in the first place. And this time all their necks are on the line

Which leads into the thieves who actually stole the lamp. A pair of street urchins named Damian and Creyn.

Creyn being uncharacteristically grumpy, he's actually a sunshine child and always joking around
(image from Pinterest)

Here's Damian he's....decidedly not a sunshine child
(Image from Pinterest)

Damian, in case you didn't notice, is sort of the only person here with blond hair and blue eyes. He has no memory of his home or how he ended up in Iriale. Creyn found him abandoned in the streets when they were both boys and took him in. Damian is an emotionless killer, earning himself the title the Pale Death, and the only thing he cares about in the whole wide world is Creyn.

And as you've probably guessed, the lamp that they stole was no ordinary lamp. It housed an imprisoned jinni named Shohl, who offered Damian and Creyn riches. All they need to do to claim it is travel to the legendary Amun Hadir, a hidden palace full of treasures.

Shohl being as fabulous as ever
(image from Pinterest)

With Shohl as their guide, Damian and Creyn set out to find this treasure. Evona, Radmir, and Jokar meanwhile need someone to help them track down these thieves. Which is where Sahir comes in.

Sahir AKA the pretty one
(image from Pinterest)

Sahir is a cocky smuggler with an ego the size of an island. He and Radmir have worked together in the past, and every time they've crossed paths Sahir has betrayed Radmir. So needless to say, Radmir is not too keen to trust him again, but unfortunately Sahir is the best there is. Nothing happens on the seven seas without his knowing it. And if anyone can track down Damian and Creyn it is him.

And that leads to our final main character. Adilah a female assassin who has been posing as a man for the past couple years so that she can get hired. She's been sent to kill the Pale Death and anyone he may be working with and get the lamp back for the man who hired him and Creyn to steal it in the first place. She's tracking Evona, Radmir, Jokar, and Sahri as they're tracking down Creyn and Damian. And it's basically a very complex game of cat and mouse.

Here's our stabby girl herself
(image from Pinterest)

So, there you have the whole crazy cast and the gist of the story. A bunch of thieves, smugglers, killers, and other unsavory sorts all want a lamp. Only what they weren't counting on was the fact that their greediness was going to unleash a terrible evil. One that they can only defeat if they learn to work together (and stop trying to kill each other, I'm looking at you Adilah and Damian).

This book was my first time having a ton of different POVs and main characters (the story is told from Adilah's, Radmir's, Evona's, and Damian's POVs). Of course, RLtG did come around and make this one's 4 POVs look like child's play, but this was my first introduction to having a bunch of main characters.

Also... League of Thieves has a new cover. It was designed by GetCovers and I'm so excited to finally be able to share it with you guys!.

This is going to be a trilogy and my current plan is to release all three books on Vella first. For those of you wondering when it comes out in print, I hope to release book one in the summer of 2024. I actually have the cover for the print version as well. It was designed by Maria Spada and is way too pretty to keep secret till next year...

So here it is!

It’s the heist that broke the world.


When Evona and her brother fail to retrieve the lamp they were hired to steal, they realize that they weren’t the only ones sent after the object. Now in over their heads, with their employer threatening to remove said heads for failing him and every guard thinking that they have the lamp, Evona and her brother have one last chance to save themselves. They are given the task of tracking down the other thieves and stealing the lamp back. Aided in their journey by a disillusioned soldier turned mercenary and a smuggler who definitely can’t be trusted, they set sail to take the lamp back.


Damian and Creyn thought they were stealing a lamp, it turns out they were actually taking a jinni. One that claims she can lead them to the legendary treasure of the hidden palace Amun Hadir. They set out in search of the treasure, only to learn that they are being tracked and soon it becomes a race between the two groups of thieves to be the first to claim the treasure.


Forty thieves, an assassin in disguise, and traps within ancient temples that have not been unearthed for a thousand years all stand in the way of these thieves. But unbeknownst to them all there’s a dark presence lurking in Amun Hadir, waiting for someone to free it so that it can unleash its malice on the world. Do they have what it takes to give up on the treasure they so desperately desire, or will their greed destroy the world?


The rollicking adventure of The Mummy meets the cunning heists of Six of Crows in this Middle Eastern inspired YA fantasy about thieves, monsters, and finding family. With hints of the tales of Aladdin and the Lamp and Sinbad, embark on this action-packed story about a group of antiheroes who must learn to care for more than just themselves.

Until then, this story is releasing weekly on Vella! The first three episodes are always free. League of Thieves | Kindle Vella (

Which character sounds the most interesting to you? Who do you think is going to come out on top in this tumultuous mix? There are three ships in this group, can you guess them? Comment your thoughts below!

Sunday, January 1, 2023

A Look Into My 2023 Publishing Schedule

2022 draws to a close, leaving the question... what does 2023 have in store?

Well, I cannot answer that question broadly, but as far as my publishing plans for next year go, I can share those.

Last year, I published 5 books. This year it is my goal to release 8 print titles and three Vella.

I always feel a little leery sharing my publishing plans, since there are many things that could happen to throw them off that are entirely out of my control, but as far as it is in my control, this is what I intend to do next year.

I'm planning to bring two of my YA series to a close with the release of Of Dawn and Fire and An Era of Evil, Dragons, and Dark Lords. As these two series come to a close I plan on introducing two brand new YA series, An Apprentice of Death and Seer's Tapestry.

As far as adult fiction goes, I have three releases lined up for that for next year, The Gods Created Monsters and Ancient Gods and Dead Girls which are both books set in Ruskhazar, my adult fantasy world. Harbinger of the End is also getting a sequel.

And then I'm diving into Vella with both feet. I have three books that I plan on releasing through that. The continuation of League of ThievesAwoken my first Gaming Lit/Lit RPG book, as well as a Ruskhazar story that I'm currently calling The Magicker and the Monster which is a part of The Assassin's Guide to Cheating the Gods (in case any of you remember that story I introduced a few years back).

February 13th

My first release of next year is the book one in my upcoming YA high fantasy series following the journey of a Death Elf assassin and the elite warrior who she is supposed to kill... You can pre-order this title now to have it delivered to your Kindles just in time for Valentines Day.

March 15th

Then we have the next installment in the Ruskhazar saga, this is the start of a whole new series, but it is also the next chapter in the unfolding story of the end of the world. It can be read with or separate from Rage Like the Gods and my other Ruskhazar installments. This title is also available for pre-order.


Of Dawn and Fire (Of Dreams and Nightmares Trilogy book 3)

The thrilling conclusion of the ODaN trilogy then comes out late spring/early summer of this year. Cover reveal and pre-order information will be coming soon.

In December I plan to finally bring my My Time in Amar series to a close with the epic finale An Era of Evil, Dragons, and Dark Lords.

Strings Kings and Dead Things (The Seer's Tapestry 1)

The first in a YA series with enemies to lovers, charming and attractive villains, and a dark academia setting.

An Apprentice of Death novella

In October I'm planning on releasing an Apprentice of Death novella.

The End of Kings

The much asked-for sequel to Harbinger of the End, Britannic legends and Norse myths mix as Loki under the guise of a sorcerer named Merlin trains up a young King Arthur and Sigyn desperately seeks a way to make certain that Ragnarök is stopped once and for all.

As well as publishing these books, I also have a plan on releasing the A Glimpse into the Unkown book bundle in print and Kindle. I'm also hoping to release my Return to Amar Omnibus in print.

And on top of all that, there are also the books I'm releasing through Kindle Vella.

League of Thieves

(Temporary cover by CK Beggan)

I've already been releasing episodes of LoT, my middle eastern heist novel, on Vella, you can catch up on them now. New episodes come out every Friday.

An Assassin's Guide to Cheating the Gods

This standalone prequel set in Ruskhazar twenty years before the events of Rage Like the Gods about an assassin lord, an elf ranger, and a young magicker all unwittingly pitted against each other as they are strangely connected through the curse of vampirism. I plan on releasing this in three different seasons, to go with the three POVs of this book. My current plan is for Season One to be about Bryn, the magicker who finds herself falling in love with her boss. Hoping to have this story start releasing by February/March!


My LitRPG/Gaming Lit novel Awoken will be releasing on Vella soon. I don't have a set date when I'll start putting episodes up, but I'm hoping sometime this summer. Then when it starts going up I plan on releasing it on a weekly basis as well.

Well, there you have it. My 2023 publishing plans.

Some of you may already follow my Schedule page so none of this will be new to you. If you don't already follow that page I suggest you do, it is the best place to find news for my publishing plans. I do my best to keep it up to date, although since I'm talking about years from now (I go up to 2025), obviously my plans shift and change sometimes. Still, it's the most accurate glimpse into my current publishing plans.

If you don't see your anticipated release in this blog post, first of all I'm so sorry I wish I both had the time and money to put out all the books I want to next year but alas. But if you don't see your anticipated release listed here check that page and see if it is listed there. For instance, Rage Like the Gods 2 is coming out in 2024 because it's way too long of a book and there's no way I could get it done in time to publish this year.

Happy New Year to you all. And happy reading!