Bran Hambric

Posts about the Bran Hambric series of books by Kaleb Nation. Includes The Farfield Curse and The Specter Key.

Most Bizarre Moments In My Life

500 500 Kaleb Nation

My life has had many bizarre moments. The past few months have seen some of the bizarre-est (sic). I talk about them all in my new vlog:

Some of the things I’ve been up to lately include….

  • appearing in at least 3 music videos, which have been seen over 100,000,000 times (OH SNAP)
  • being cast in a national Taco Bell TV commercial (100% TRUE)
  • guest-hosting Dr. Drew On Call on HLN at least 4 times (You were watching, RIGHT?)
  • adopting the most adorable puppy in the world (You won’t BELIEVE her name… but it’s REAL).

But probably leading all of the bizarre-ities (sic) would be discovering that my first novel, THE FARFIELD CURSE, was translated into Russian and has been in Russian stores since 2012. I had no idea. Nobody tells the author anything.

Watch my new vlog to find out how I discovered my book in Russian! Here are some photos:


Speaking of photos… here’s our new puppy…

“Don’t Cha wish your puppy was cute like me?”

The Search And Destroy List [Ideas On Revising A Book]

150 150 Kaleb Nation

Writing a book can cause an effect similar to self-hypnosis. After hours of clicking keys with my brain in another world and my mind blocking out all natural surroundings, I tend to fall into a type of trance. Suddenly, the words being typed aren’t even intelligently thought-out paragraphs, but just what spills out as my fingers move. In this state, though our appearances may vary slightly, little differentiates me in writing skill from a stupid monkey with a typewriter:

This works, though, because the words are flowing and the story is taking on its own life. But the phenomenon makes you lose track of time. It makes you forget lunch and then dinner and then the next day’s breakfast. It also makes you forget that you are typing the same words over and over and over.

Thus, to my horror,when I go back over first drafts, I find paragraph gems similar to this:

The magnificence of this mansion, every piece of magnificent furniture it housed: I would have eagerly thrown it all away for the magnificent device before me now. My eyes had glanced over the Bentley Coupe, the Rolls-Royce, and even the Ferrari – locking on the single piece of flaming red glory behind them. A Shelby GT500. The most magnificent car that earth had ever been graced with; the car no road deserved to feel trample its gravel. The wheels were the blackest of black, the windows tinted, the sweepingly magnificent angles of the hood and side and door like a carefully crafted ship. The silver cobra on its front seemed to whisper seductively at my heart. If I had had my camera, I probably could have photographed its two front lights, and likely would have been able to read nothing but magnificently magnificent bliss behind their magnificent pupils.

Isn’t this paragraph magnificently magnificent?

It is a very good thing to be able to write a first draft without thinking of what the words sound like or what you are repeating, because the first draft is intrinsically just getting the story out there. But when you’ve finished telling the bones of a story, it can’t stop there, or you end up with paragraphs like the above — with a kind soul and good heart but eighteen ugly arms growing out of its back. The manuscript has to be rewritten, revised, and a Search And Destroy list has to be made.

With every book I’ve written, I’ve gotten hung up on a list of words that somehow get repeated dozens of times in my drafts. My brain simply passes over the 15 times I said a character ‘hissed’ on page 211, or the 15 uses of the phrase “demonically possessed since birth” when describing any goats. But when I go back, with the help of friends, I am able to form a list of my most commonly overused words, to search them out and destroy them. For example, in my current Secret Project, this is part of my Search-And-Destroy List:






“face lit up”


“All at once…”

“…only stared”




“Any mentions to someone spreading their arms because what on earth does the even mean”

The list goes on. Before anyone gets to see this book, I will have successfully found every time these words were overused in my manuscript, and VANQUISHED THEM.

Rewrites like this are a huge part of writing. My first book went through so many rewrites, I began labeling my drafts with decimals. Deep in my OLD STUFF subfolder of the BRAN HAMBRIC subfolder of the KALEB’S NOVELS folder on my computer, there are many documents labeled things like BHTFC-Draft9.7.doc, BRAN-HAMBRIC-FINAL.doc, BH-REALLY-FINAL.doc, FINAL-FINAL-VERSION-BH.doc, etc.

Even after I sent the FINAL-BH-SEND-TO-EDITOR.doc version off, there were still so many changes that now my original document only slightly resembles what has been printed. My plans of making my own pirated version of my book that search-and-replaced Bran Hambric with Uncle Pennybags are ruined.

In a few hours it will be January 2011. I recently finished the rewrite of my Secret Project, so I can start the New Year entirely fresh. Writers who ventured into their stories during NaNoWriMo will also have a chance to go back to their manuscripts with a fresh eye in a fresh year. You’ll have to become acquainted with my friend Revisions. R. and I know when the time has come for us to have lunch together, or fifteen lunches together, or when we have no choice but to stay up until 3 AM sharpening our Backspace Swords and our Delete-Key Javelins together.

As you re-read your first draft, you may be horrified by the things you placed on the page. But don’t worry. I learned quickly how to use the FIND key in my word processor, and how to remove the 823 times my antagonist feels chagrined.

Comments: what words do you find yourself repeating in your early drafts?

Covers Of Awful

150 150 Kaleb Nation

Almost eight years ago, I had the idea that would eventually become my first published book. I wrote the first draft in six months. Time to publish! thought I. Little did I know that five years of rewriting lay ahead.

All writers take this road. You’re left for a long time with your goal dangling just out of reach, your publishing legs growing longer with each day but your logical side wondering if you’ll ever be tall enough. You live on dreams and hopes. For this reason, to keep me going as I rewrote my story, I dreamed ahead by making my own book covers.

The first cover of my first book was made in 2003/2004, and featured Lord Of The Rings concept art and the original title of the book. Also, my old pen name, and a very, very audacious bit of labeling at the top. I call this BRAN HAMBRIC AND HIS BRIGHT RED WORDART TEXT:

In 2005 I went dramatic. I tossed the moon necklace into a floating orb of energy and made BRAN HAMBRIC, VAMPYRE KNIGHT MASTER:

Later in 2005, I was informed my book was not dark enough to merit neon blue text. Also, I decided to drop the second part of the title altogether. So I cartooned it up a bit with some blue and gold, to make BRAN HAMBRIC IN HAPPYFUNVILLE WITH TWO CURVED GRADIENTS:

Even later in 2005 (I was on a design craze) I propped up a pair of jeans with paint sticks and made my most contemporary cover in ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S ME, JUST AN ORDINARY BOY BRAN HAMBRIC:

In 2007, I finally learned some basic design essentials. My parents relented and let me use my full name. I brought back the rest of the title. I tossed in some gnomes, misty clouds, and boom! BRAN HAMBRIC AND CASPER THE GHOSTLY TEXT:

Later in 2007, I got the latest Photoshop, and really went at it. I designed a logo from scratch, turned the inner glow WAY DOWN, and went for a simpler, more mysterious cover. Also, mist. Which makes this BRAN HAMBRIC YOU BETTER WATCH OUT FOR THAT BLACK HOLE:

As you can see, my design skills improved somewhat as I went on. The logo in the last book eventually became the logo used on all the Bran Hambric covers. So sometimes, procrastinating around in Photoshop between drafts actually does pay off.

What Book Tours Are Like

150 150 Kaleb Nation

Book tour starts in a few days, but before that I’m doing some school events! I get to speak to kids and teens about writing, publishing, and lots of other fun stuff. Plus, I have special things for people who show up wearing Nationeer shirts!

Links from the video:

Read previews of my books:

Preorder / preview my book:

How I Write A Book

150 150 Kaleb Nation

This video was originally written as a blog post, but I adapted it for video. I thought it would have a better effect if it showed me in the process of writing a book while talking about it. I had a lot of fun filming in the dark and getting creative with my lights — it’s my first low light video and all the shots were done with my Canon T1i and a variety of lenses (mostly my Canon EF 50mm 1.8).

Here’s the shortened blog:

One of the questions I probably get asked most often is How Do I Write A Book, and that’s a pretty much impossible question to answer. There’s not really an easy way to explain how anyone writes a book. It’s like trying to explain how to fall in love, you can’t really put it into words or instructions well.

A book usually just starts off with you wandering around in a mess of potential ideas in your head and, picking one to go with, then deciding that one isn’t right, then chasing after another one and finding out that one’s not right either.

And then suddenly, from nowhere, comes this idea that you didn’t expect at all, and it just hits you like a train, and suddenly you’re obsessed with writing it down, and going into the backstories of ever tiny character and planning out histories and futures and worlds and every aspect of these character’s lives. That’s when you know you’ve found The Idea. That’s the start.

Then, where you were once struggling to push out a thousand or a hundred or even 5 words a day, now you’re writing five thousand or ten thousand or fifteen thousand because you can’t pull yourself from writing this story. My writing tends to start at 5 in the evening and go to two or three AM but that’s because I entirely lose track of time when I’m writing. It pretty much becomes your life. You only fall deeper into the story the more you get to know it.

For example when I had the idea for Bran Hambric, it came to me late at night, and it just hit me with this image of two people on a rooftop, and suddenly I became obsessed with finding out every detail behind the how’s and who’s and why’s of this image.

And after the initial buzz that I got from writing on this new idea, the freshness of it wore off, and it’s then that a writer gets to find out if it’s the real thing or just another idea that’ll end up stuffed in a box somewhere.

That’s where things start to get a bit difficult, you have to plot out chapters, change things, revise it, then change it again and revise it again. That’s when some people just give up – it’s difficult to go on and it’s easy to stop and look for something newer and more temporarily interesting. Some people leave their stories orphaned like that. But some people press on through the hard times because they really, truly love this idea. They keep it up until they reach the end, and write that last word. And those are the people who become authors.

So I’d have to say that the way to write a book is to fall in love with an idea so much that you’re willing to stick out five or six years or however long it’ll take writing it and then finding an agent and a publisher and all the ridiculous hoops you have to jump through.

Because the only way anyone would be mad enough to do all that work with no real promise of any tangible reward at the end is if you truly love it. And if you love it enough, you’re willing to do whatever it takes to make it work, and turn that idea into a book.

Links from the video:


Subscribe to my channel at for more videos!

Bran Hambric: The Specter Key Is Here

150 150 Kaleb Nation

The first Nationeer has reported in with her copy of Bran Hambric: The Specter Key!

In tomorrow’s video I’ll explain WHY some copies are getting shipped out so early! Basically — people who preorder get special surprises like books long before the release date!

Thanks annainn 😀


150 150 Kaleb Nation

October 7 Phoenix, Arizona 7:00 PM Changing Hands – LAUNCH
October 9 & 10 Portland, Oregon (event schedule) WORDSTOCK Festival
October 16 Phoenix, Arizona 2:00 PM Borders at 2402 E. Camelback Road (Biltmore Fashion Park)
October 21 Glendale, California 7:00 PM Borders Bookstore
October 23 Canoga Park, California 2:00 PM Borders Bookstore
October 26 Salt Lake City, Utah 7:00 PM King’s English
October 27 Layton, Utah TBD Barnes & Noble Bookstore


Finally, I have the details for my upcoming book tour for BRAN HAMBRIC: THE SPECTER KEY! It’s a little shorter than last time but we’re planning on these stops to be HUGE!

I’m so excited for the chance to meet as many of you as I can. Recently I’ve been thinking how much I miss talking to BranFans and Nationeers in person! About 10 months of every year of a writer’s life is spent sitting at home, writing away. It’s great to go out into the world every once in a while and meet the people who have enjoyed your books 🙂

If you’re in one of these cities, you can help in BIG ways by telling your friends and spreading the word! Putting up posters about the event around your school and libraries and bookstores is super. Let your teachers and librarians know that I’ll be coming there and they can help spread the word too! The more people who show up, the bigger party we can have!

Can’t wait to see all of you 🙂

PS just wanted to remind you that unfortunately I don’t get to pick where I go on tour, so just because your city isn’t on the list doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten you. Maybe my publishers will send me there next book 🙂

How I Got Published [21 Days To Bran]

150 150 Kaleb Nation


I talk about how I got an agent and also give a preview of something I’ve been working on 😛

Links from the video:


Join the Bran Hambric street team and you could get a Bran Hambric necklace/poster:

Subscribe to my channel at for more videos!

Bran Hambric: The Specter Key Official Trailer

150 150 Kaleb Nation

I’m very happy to announce the official trailer for my novel BRAN HAMBRIC: THE SPECTER KEY.

You can preorder the book and read three preview chapters at


Click here to tweet the video to your friends and followers on Twitter!


Want to upload this video to your Youtube channel and tell your friends about the book? Here are some easy instructions:

1. Right-click THIS LINK and save the video file to your computer (or, left click the link, then File… -> Save Page As… )

2. UPLOAD the video to your Youtube channel

3. Paste this in the video description:

BRAN HAMBRIC: THE SPECTER KEY // Buy or read a preview at

“Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse” Released As E-Book

150 150 Kaleb Nation

I’m very happy to announce that my first novel, BRAN HAMBRIC: THE FARFIELD CURSE, has just been released through eReads as an ebook! You can now get the novel on your Kindle or similar ebook device at the eReads website or in your online bookstore!

The ebook for the first Bran Hambric novel had been delayed a year from the hardcover, but the electronic version of the sequel, BRAN HAMBRIC: THE SPECTER KEY, is also now open for preorders online. Enjoy!