Showing posts with label airships. Show all posts
Showing posts with label airships. Show all posts

23 August 2013

Fan Art Friday

Sooo... my effort to gain more followers and get more fan art was a total fail. No responses. I'm just going to have to try this again in a few months. No biggie.

But in the meantime, this leaves me with slim to no pics to share with you. I've been super busy doing edits so that for the up and coming printing in the Book-it! magazine. But, I suppose I can come up with something. Let me see... ah! Here is some art I've been admiring lately. Some inspirations for Target Lost, my webisode series leading up to Tailslide. (forgive me if I've shared these before)

Introducing Nannette!




aaaand more Maggie. I seriously love Maggie.

16 August 2013

Fan Art Friday

I'm extending the due date on the competition by another week. The last two weeks have been really busy and irritating and difficult for me. But I'm here to do a little bit of positive at the end of the week, and hopefully bring you a little bit of sunshine to carry you through the weekend.

Welp, it's Fan Art Friday, and once again I am short on fan art... However! Never let it say that I shall be deterred!

I've had some requests on reference photos for a couple that I absolutely love: Josh and Gabe. I revealed them briefly about a year ago, thinking at the time that the very next book I would be writing would be Shifter Centric... come to find out, I have a lot of work to do before I can start writing SC - which is intended to be to HBL what the Ender's Shadow series is to the Ender's Game series. So! For your entertainment, and reference, here is more of Josh and Gabe.



My original version of Josh and Gabe

Andrea Hatch's version of Josh and Gabe

I hope you love them as much as I love them. ;) You get to meet them in the last parts of Hard Bank Left.

12 August 2013

Sneak Peak!

First things first! I recently watched Jack the Giant Slayer  and you must tell me...

Would she or would she not make an excellent Krys? (Green eyes aside) Just looking for your thoughts.

Speaking of which, I feel inclined to share with you a small snippet of what I've been working of in Tailslide. So, without further ado, here's a sneak peak at Tailslide:

My foot landed squarely in his face with a loud and satisfying crack. Blood began to gush from his nose, spilling all down his shirt. He doubled over, screaming and cursing and howling in pain. Without hesitation I snatched my dagger out from his belt and dodged toward the pile of crates. Above the crates was a zip line. The plan had barely started to formulate before I realized just how much this was going to hurt. But, it wasn't like I had many other choices.
With one great bound the zip line handle was in my left hand, but I wasn't free yet. Swinging my leg as hard as I could, I managed to clear a large stack of crates to my left, but not without sending my body careening sideways. The burning in my shoulder and wrist bit deep into the muscle and refused to release, but I couldn't let go, not just yet. The ground was still too far away and I was still recovering from my last great leap.
Legs swinging and flailing every which way, arm cramping, and knife held overhead, I sped toward the bottom of the line where a rather intimidating man waited, arms outstretched. My options flipped in front of me like a possessed Rolodex. One in particular stuck out and I went with it. It all started with swinging my back leg forward. The man below laughed at this. He wouldn't be laughing for long.
A split second before landing, tucked in my extended leg, forcing the excess energy into extending my other leg into a kick which landed smack in his xiphoid complex. The resulting crunch was not a pleasant one. No sooner did my foot make contact than I let go of the zip line bringing me hammering down on his already crushed sternum. As if that wasn't enough, I rammed my knife into his neck.
There was a time that I would have cared that I'd just taken a life, when the blood spilling across the deck would have troubled me to sickness, but that time had long since passed. These people weren't human. They kidnapped, experimented, treated my kind as animals all for the sake of aether. If us nightlings had to die for them to get their fill of aether, then by all means, I'd kill them first.
“Two down,” I muttered, pulling my knife from the man's jugular with a putrid spray of dark blood. “Who's next?”

09 August 2013

Fan Art Friday

I really don't have much for you this week. I've been very busy trying to coordinate this character competition. YOU HAVE ONE MORE WEEK PEOPLE! Please spread the word. So, for you, here is what I have for FAF.

In a word:


I know... not really one word... and I missed an apostrophe... but still; that's pretty much it. Hope you guys have a great weekend!

01 August 2013

The Busy Week of Busy-ness!

As some of you may have noticed, I didn't blog on Monday or Wednesday. What some of you may not have noticed (and I mean, really, how could you notice unless you've been spying on me?! *gasp*) that I've been editing a lot of Hard Bank Left lately! I've come to several realizations, not the least of which being who the bad guys are/bad guy motivation. (I refer you to this last Friday's blog.)

I've also been thinking a lot about Krys's family relations, and her discontentment at home and I realized - though I really have no idea how - that Krys is the middle child of three. This has put a number of plot twists in my head that I really can't wait to share with you... but you're going to have to wait until the middle of Tailslide to hear about them! Muahahahaha! xD But seriously, it's killing me not telling you right now!

In other news! The first two chapters of HBL will be available for public reading in the up and coming magazine Book-it! from Chapter One. I'm so stoked. I've been working with the editor to get an exclusive look to the story, including but not limited to pictures. It's been really fun and I hope you enjoy the effort. If you don't live in Utah and are looking for a copy of my story in the magazine, you can pre-order your copy of the first issue here, subscriptions are available.

Also! super awesome bonus material alert I am holding a competition for best Steam Punk! If you are into cosplay, are an artist, or you have friends who are, this is for you. 

In Hard Bank Left, Target Lost, and Tailslide there are a ton of fight scenes. In these there are characters the have special physic abilities. The winner of this competition will get the opportunity to be written into one of these three stories as either a good guy or a bad guy with one of these abilities. Here is your chance to be immortalized in fiction!

To enter into this competition, you must submit a picture or drawing of you or one of your original characters/alter-egos to no later than August 15th. The winner will be announced the next day in my usual Fan Art Friday post.


  • The character must a specific mental ability. For a list of powers, check out my wiki page. This doesn't have to be demonstrated, just let me know in the email.
  • The character must demonstrate that they are in the Shadow Cast world by having one or more of the following objects: 
    • has objects that glow cyan
    • has an elaborately decorated key
    • has a mix of steampunk and cyberpunk tech (ie a musket and a flexi)
  •  If a bad guy, the character must demonstrate some sort of military insignia
  • If a good guy, the character must stand out as being eccentric in some way (ex. they're crazy, have no sense of style, or are a gypsy)
  • optional bonus material (please note that bonus material doesn't count toward your actual score, but it sure makes your character fantastic)
    • awesome Nerf  - glowey paint gets double bonuses!
    • making jeans look steampunky
    • dreadlocks
    • eye patches
    • kickawesome scars
    • bizarre eye color
    • curly orange hair

As a final note, keep it clean (we have young and/or impressionable audience members). I look forward to seeing what you have in store!

15 July 2013

Decission Making and 276th drafts

If you've taken even the most basic writing class you will note that probably the most tedious part of writing is the extensive drafting process a.k.a. The Rewrite. It's  unpleasant, it's messy, and, most importantly, it's diheartening. I cannot tell you how many rewrites have left me wallowing in a pit of self-loathing because either A) "How could anyone hate this first draft? It's perfect, and yet I must rewrite!" or B) "How could I have been such an idiot?! I swear I did not write this crap." *sets about completely rewriting the story and creating an entirely new first draft which must be edited again*...

Does anyone else feel my woes?

With self-loathing pit A, I'm usually so deep in a pit of "woe is me" that I seriously can't see what's wrong with my writing unless someone else points out what is good with it. Take for example the situation that The Next Big Writer has set up where in order to post anything you must earn as certain amount of points by reading and reviewing other people's works. Normally this leads to constructive criticism, bolstered confidences, and new writing buddies that you can do fun projects with. However, in many a case, it also leads to a newbie getting bombed by other newbies with no social skills who turn around and tell them that their piece has a million spelling errors, that their sentence fluency sucks, and that they have a poor vocabulary, and wind up saying nothing about the story in general. The major problem with this should be obvious: if you don't tell someone what's good about their writing first, they will be less likely to accept your criticism. (Seriously you newbie reviewers, read How to Win Friends and Influence People; it should be required reading for being a member of the human race.) In short, sometimes we need a little outside help to get the ball rolling with edits.

But then there's self-loathing pig B... This may be best demonstrated by a little story about a little story I've been perpetually rewriting since I was - oh, we shall say - 10. It's gone by a number of different names over the years, but recently the entire conglomerated world that I've created has been known as Legend of the Fallen Moon.  When I was 10, this was my little outlet for my D&D obsession as well as a number of other imaginative things I had floating in my head due to an overactive imagination and a love of fantasy books. As you might imagine, it took my 10-year-old mind about two years to put these imaginings into more than a few scribblings in the back of an old notebook. And, at the ripe old age of 12, I was absolutely convinced that I was the best writer in the world. I'm thinking of putting some of my 12-year-old scribblings on my website as motivation to aspiring writers that they won't always stink...

This fantasy story has evolved over the last decade and a half until it reached its current state which mainly consists of a map, a list of races, and an extensive planetary history. Given the state of things, it would be better suited for development into an MMO RPG than a series of novels, but we shall have to see what my mind is up to after I'm done with the Shadow Cast Chronicles. I may very well write a book based off the story line of an MMO I develop out of my notes. Let me know in the comments below what you think after checking out the wiki!
I guess what I'm trying to say with that story is that your edits don't always turn out to be exactly what you intended them to be. Sometimes they fizzle, sometimes they soar.

Luckily, with the Shadow Cast Chronicles, I've had a bit more success in staying focused, though it might not always seem that way. When I first started writing the Chronicles, I was writing first person from multiple perspectives and it was really confusing. This pre-first draft went into my "original concepts" folder never to be seen or heard from again.... No, seriously. I only use that draft for some basic references of what I had originally thought would happen. It serves to keep my thoughts straight, but does little else.

The really hard work has come with Hard Bank Left. HBL has been the most time consuming project I've ever worked on. And what's worse! I didn't even have the plot straight when I was writing it! I wrote down the beginning and the end and that was pretty much it for about two years. Then, about a year ago, I sat down, put together a play list on youtube of music and videos that I figured would fit HBL pretty well. After that, I compiled a plethora of inspirational pictures. This got me in the right spirit. After that, I set down a goal for myself: one chapter a week, and I started writing.

That was pretty much it for the first draft. It didn't have to be pretty, it just had to get done. And, as soon as it did, I felt as though there was a huge weight lifted off my chest. I felt that now that I had the story and all the characters down on paper, I could really begin to flush out the story, the characters, and all the details with a fine toothed comb.

...I am finding that fine toothed combs usually find unpleasant snarls - particularly in the "cliche" and "plot device" categories. Needless to say, it's still a work in progress.

Something I've discovered that has really helped in this tedious process is turning your novel into a short story. This... really hurts. Really, REALLY hurts. You have to cut out all the pretty words and fancy fight scenes and elaborate entangled character relationships, and condense the entire story into about 10,000 words. This, for me, has really helped strengthen the core of my story. It's helped build a back bone on which I can fit all my fancy filigree and crazy plot twists.

After this, after all the maiming of my convoluted story, I had a friend instruct me to do what her hubby made her do with her comic: reduce the story to one sentence. With HBL, this was difficult. I had so many things going on, even in short story form, that it took me until very recently to narrow it down. For me, HBL can be simplified to this:

Hard Bank Left is about overcoming and becoming.

It was a phrase that I'd heard since childhood which has had such a profound affect on my life. I didn't even realize that it had seeped its way into my story. Keeping that sentence in the forefront of my mind, I can rewrite the second draft to more clearly reflect the intended message of the novel. This way (hopefully) by draft three, I'll mostly have to worry about nitty gritty things, instead of having my editor point out that my story has no core. (Frankly, nitty gritty things, while tedious, are possibly the easiest things to correct when editing.) 

12 July 2013

Fan Art Friday

Again, I am a little low on fan art, but at least I'm getting a few more fans. :) *waves hello to the half dozen people paying attention* But, I have my website up and running! So, if you're still looking for the latest webisode of Target Lost to pop up here, you're out of luck, because it's over there now.

Whelp, I suppose it's about time I talk about the Keypers and their keys. I know, you haven't really gotten there in the book. I've only posted two chapters. But! For those of you that have seen the pictures of the really cool keys that I keep posting I still owe you an explanation.

I stumbled across Keyper's Cove about a year ago and was immediately inspired by their array of fantastical keys. This inspiration bloomed into an obsession with underground, grass roots movements society... thing! (Yes, I know that seems a little redundant. I'm getting to it!). Underground because it's society that has taken root among a culture/group/sub-race of humans that most people don't know exist, and grass roots movement because the majority of the culture doesn't even know the society exists. If you have (a) better word(s) to describe what I just said, feel free to offer it.

In my mind, there are many traits of these keys that are unique, which I really won't go into detail about here (a woman has to have her secrets), but the main feature is that each member of this society-thing has their own, one specially made for them and specially attuned to their aether (not to be confused with The Aether).

Here are just some of the keys from Keyper's Cove that I've used as inspiration in The Shadow Cast Chronicles:

 Cadence's key

 Jeldhen's key

Krys's key

Lia's key

Adrianna's key

Casandra's key

Drystan's key

Nereida's key

Renee's key

and finally...
Gabe's key

*waits patiently for the sudden wave of key enthusiasts*

10 July 2013

The Damsel in Distress: Jeldhen

Alright, so most of you are familiar with the "damsel in distress" cliche and how it objectifies those that are captured, blah, blah, blah. If you really want to get into it here's a feminist vlog that addresses this concept in depth (I strongly recommend that you take the time to watch the series later, though they're rather lengthy):

The essence of the cliche is that women are reduced to objects or victim states as a plot device to propel the story forward and motivate the main characters (namely men) into defeating the bad guy.

I've had some people voice concern over the squeal to Hard Bank LeftTailslide - being little more than a cheap use of a trope to motivate Krys and force her to confront her darker side. I can see where this idea comes from. All you have to do is read the description of the book and this is the first concept conjured. I want to assure you that this initial bulrb is intentionally misleading with the intention of forcing the reader to come to their own conclusion as to what Krys's inner darkness is. But, yes. Jeldhen does get "kidnapped" and Krys is intent on rescuing him.

Now, without giving away too much *inhales deeply and tries not to burst*, in the first book, Krys is put into a situation where some damselling occurs, but it is clear throughout the book that Krys has the ability to take control of the situation and simply has to figure out how. She is never objectified in the reader's perspective - though she is objectified in the eyes of her captors. I did this in an effort to draw attention to what women go through when being brutalized or victimized. However, rest assured that her kidnap is not merely a plot device, it does serve a higher purpose - and no, it's not the purpose of making Jeldhen come after her. There are greater powers at work here. What that is, though? You'll just have to read and find out!

In Tailslide *again holds breath and attempts not to explode* Jeldhen has already been captured, forcing Krys to confront her so called "inner darkness". Here's where one might draw the line between the damsel in distress motive and the sire in distress:

When a woman is put into the damsel position and the main character is a man, the essence of the theme becomes (as Anita points out here) is that the man is driven by a loss of masculinity due to an implicated failure of his duty to protect the ones he loves. While this is not wrong, nor is it a misrepresentation of what husbands, boyfriends, and fathers would truly experience if put through a member of their family being kidnapped or killed, this is not what Krys, nor on a whole women, go through when put in the reverse scenario.

When Jeldhen is kidnapped, Krys - much like any male counterpart in a similar scenario - is anguished over losing her best friend, experiences feelings of inadequacy in her ability to protect the ones she loves, and overall feels as though she has lost all control. However, she does not allow these things to stop her from progressing as a person. She is not solely driven by her need to prove herself, or a need to get her best friend back - though this is certainly how it seems at first.

Krys does not go on a solo, destroy all Shadow Cast killing spree (even though she would really like to). Instead, she steps up to her tasks as a Keyper and does what she has to to bring them down without unnecessary loss of life. She does not become a super soldier, even if she is capable of it, nor does she become the universally praised hero that wins metals and gets all the recognition. Krys is the epitome of an every day soldier with a cause, and (hopefully) someone young people of every gender can look up to.

05 July 2013

Fan Art Friday!

Well, seeing as how another week has come and gone and I am rather short on fan art (though fortunately, I've been gaining fans!) I figured today is a day for reverse fan art!

You know how some days you're really stumped and just can't think of a thing to write? Well, most of those days I revert to scoping out the interwebs for some inspiration. The years have granted me with a wide variety of fantastic art that has inspired me, inspired my world and, sometimes, inspired specific characters. I showed you a lot of Krys last week, allow me to introduce some of my other characters!

Jeldhen was inspired by one particular character and, if anyone has seen the Mummy franchise, you just may understand why.

Mind you, Jeldhen is 21, but you just can't beat Rick O'Connell for that classic international cowboy swagger. And then you have to throw in one of my favored artists who has inspired a great many things in my world:

Then there's Ve. Well, Ve has been inspired by a number of people, not the least of which being my lovely friend Kato. Most particularly, you may recognize this as being the main inspiration for Ve's appearance:

However, I am pleased to say that Kato is not, nor ever has been mad - at least not in the sense that Ve is. For that I can only thank Joss Whedon's vamptastic character Drusilla whom I adore.

Cadence is next, I suppose. But the thing about him is that I stumbled across a random pic on a random search that kind of lead to a number of different, completely unrelated pictures that eventually lead me to an underdeveloped character that very happily blossomed into the obsessive, slightly disturbed man that he has come to be. (Wow... I'm beginning to realize just how much I like writing crazy people...)

Fes sprung out of two pictures (one comes from Kato, no idea who took the other one). But in essence, these two pictures:

 gave me an entire attitude to an entire character that lead to an entire chapter that deserved to be in her very specific voice. Thank you whomever took these pictures.

Lia, as well, came from two random pictures... both of which are results of a random search:

The top one gave me her attitude which has been my favorite part of her whole obnoxious character. The second gave me her irrational fear of heights... no idea how I got that off the picture, but there it is!

Krys is the only character left from HBL, so I suppose I might as well feature her as well. But, I have so many pictures that have inspired her, that it's difficult to count and even more difficult to credit. I can say that the second one is from The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne, the first one is the lead actress from Peter Pan, and I believe that somewhere in there is a steampunk Princess Leia. So, just for the heck of it, here are the inspirations for Krys:

01 July 2013

Steampunk and other such things

 Steampunk: what you may not know

For just about anyone that is interested in anything Turn of the Century, you may or may not be familiar with the term "steam punk". For those of you who are unfamiliar with this term, here's a little video that may answer some questions:

Okay, now that this one singular interpretation of the word "steampunk" I am here to clear up a few things! While each different author or creator in the steampunk genre have their own view on what the definition of "steampunk" is, we can all agree on one thing: retro-futurism. 

I know some of you are looking at this word and wondering what on Earth that could possibly mean. Let me clear it up for you - or elsewise confuse you just a little bit more. retro-futurism can mean either of two things (and often both at the same time). The first thing retro-futurism refers to is this "what would the future look like if it were designed by the great Turn of the Century thinkers?" Namely, the future as Edison, Tesla, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Edgar Rice Burroughs saw it.  The second, and possibly more controversial view of retro-futurism, is a future built of reflections on the Turn of the Century. 

"Purists" who consider themselves "true steam punks" tend to lean more toward the first definition. These steampunks focus more on the "steam" than the "punk" part of their cultural name, and, in fact, will even go so far as to get on people's cases about whether dieselpunk isn't an entirely different sub-culture than steampunk, even though they exist in the same era, and a diesel engine works the exact same as a steam engine, just with a different fuel. These people are the ones that seem to simply relive the late 19th century with large fancy machinery. This is best reflected in the film Steamboy - which, if you've ever watched it, is pretty self-explanitory on this front.

The other group tend to put more emphasis on the word "punk" than the word "steam", not really caring about sub-sub-cultures. These are the overly creative ones that create an alternite reality where steam age devices still function and airships still roam the sky. The most prevelant in this group seem to be in the music field. Abney Park, for instance , even go so far as to create an entire back story for their band which explains their sudden transition into the steampunk culture.

These two groups, however, intermingle frequently and, in spite of many contentions on the subject of all things concerning steam and punks, they still manage to have a good time. 

For further explaination on the steampunk culture, or if you're interested in getting more involved in the steampunk genre, I'd recommend the following two websites:

The World of the Shadow Cast

 Now, in spite of all this bickering between the purist steam punks and the jazzy fun-loving steam punks, there's a class that seems to pretty much get shunned by steampunks with a shrug of "well, I don't think that really counts." This narrow-minded view of steampunkery leaves a good number of stories and creative works that might be considered steampunk outside the realm of steampunkery. Take, for example, my world.

The Shadow Cast Chronicles, as you may know, takes place "less steam, more punk" retro-futuristic/alternate-reality society. For those of you still thinking that the stemapunk genre is what happens when goths discover the color brown, you might be a little surprised by the brilliant colors and flavorful characters in my stories. You may even think that my world would be better classified under the catagory "cyberpunk", but that's where I'd like to tell you that you're, sadly, mistaken. (Cyberpunk is a topic for another time, so don't even get me started.)  Allow me to share with you some fantastic little peaks at things you might find in my world:


 In conclusion, I suppose what I'm trying to say is: if you're looking for a simple definition of steampunk, you're looking in the wrong place.

28 June 2013

Fan Art Friday

This week came and went pretty fast. But with someone out there stealing your days it's kind of hard not for the week to go by fast. And with the heat and the lack of A/C, it's kind of hard to keep your mind from grogging up - therefore focus is a major issue for me.

Enough with the small talk! Here is the fan art for this week!

art by the amazing Andrea Hatch, she sent it to me with the caption "Some one's ginger has been all up in my business tonight." Oh Drea, you crack me up.

Unfortunately, that's the only fan art I've had this week. I really should work on expanding my fan base.  lol But, I figure I might as well keep you entertained with some art that has inspired me over the last two years.

crafted by  harlequinromantique 
crafted by  ~OneWeeb
art by adlovett
crafted by darzeth
 photographed by agonyinecstasy
 photographed by ~unknownandinsane29

And, for good measure, a picture of my paper mache airship - tis hanging in my kitchen. (it's not done... no gondola...)