Showing posts with label hard bank left. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hard bank left. 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.

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!

07 August 2013

My Obsession With the Insane

As you may know, I seem to write a lot of crazy. And by "a lot" I obviously mean every other character...The list seems to include at least one character per chapter that's a little bit off their rocker. And, though it might not be obvious at first, you'll quickly see exactly what I mean.

 Let's think... who are some of my special crazies?...
Elicith, Ero, Ve, Fes, Constantine, Drystan, Cassandra, Caps, Alasier, Maggie, Asper, and even Krys and Cadence are all various levels of mentally unstable.

So why? you may ask. Do you want the simple answer or the complicated one? Because the simple one is that aether affects the mind. A human mind can only handle so much aether at a time, overusing it, overdoing it, can cause a sort of psychosis, split personality disorder, or even drain your life.

You want complex?

Let's take the Dureri from my novella Adrianna. Obviously there's something unnatural about them, their actions seem to be outside the realm of normal human behavior. And yeah, sure, you can write that off as it being a simple matter of them not exactly being mortal in the strictest sense. But there's more to it. You can only torture people for so long without going just a little bit mad. Drystan is the best example of this.

In the first novella, Adrianna, the character of Drystan is explored a little. He's described as obsessive, clingy, and impulsive. He's described as hating who and what he is. At first glance this is brushed off with an explanation that may seem a little too easy: he views the body as sacred and doesn't like seeing anyone hurting - let alone doing the hurting himself. If you haven't read the book yet, please do so. Just keep in mind that this description of him isn't a cop out, I'm just holding out on you. ;)

Later in the series Drystan's psychosis deepens as he becomes more obsessed with Adrianna and goes down a... questionable path.  I try to make it a little unclear as to why this is (after all, I have to keep challenging your mind, don't I?), however I will say this, being Dureri isn't all that it seems. Sure there's the glamor and the immortality and the inability to feel pain, but there's a little bit of a side affect that most Dureri don't even notice: split personality disorder. (This is explored in Adrianna, so if you have questions, go read the novella.)

The mind doesn't have the capability to deal with the whole new set of input, heightened senses, all the goodies of being Dureri. So, the mind creates a divergent personality that can cope with the entirely new life. Over time the two personality sets merge - usually as the trauma of being changed lessens - sometimes this creates a super genius like Renee, Gilgamesh or Nereida. And sometimes you get a messed up jumble of a person like in the cases of Cassandra and Drystan.

For other cases, you're just going to have to read through the stories, aren't you. ;)

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!

26 July 2013

Fan Art Friday!

Continuing with the bad guy theme: Constantine. The baddest bad guy ever - supposedly. In truth I know little about this guy. I know his history. I know his basic appearance. I know what has happened in his life. But his motivation is still a mystery to me. In writing HBL I had a close encounter with him... But this still leaves him a mystery to me. Thankfully, the edits I have in mind for Hard Bank Left give me the space to make Constantine the silent predator. I have very few pictures of him, but I'll share what I have.

There you go. That's pretty much it... only a little older. He's pretty much a scary business man. Aaaand I really need to work on him. *sigh*

But I do have pictures of The Twins. Yeah, that's right, The Twins. They're a pair of grotesquely evil torturing Dureri that I'm going to cover in Target Lost. I'm not going to tell you much in hopes that you'll find out in the webisodes. But, here are the reference photos that I totally love!

24 July 2013

The Implications on the Soul: The Creation of an AI

Over the years I've written many science fiction and semi-sci-fi (steampunk) stories that involve the creation of an artificial intelligence. Some are more in depth than others, but all involve the basics behind my belief in a soul and how the soul works.

In my faith, a soul is what happens with an intelligence enters a spiritual body. The soul is then placed in a physical body creating a "living soul." (Mind you this is my personal beliefs based on the teachings of my church.) So, what defines an artificial intelligence? Mainly the artificial part.

Now, I must clarify, my faith-based definition of "intelligence" is what I am going to refer to from now on as "the spark", and the "spiritual body" we are going to call "programming" or "the program".

Current AI programming is pretty obviously just that, programming. It's essentially a fully functional spiritual body, a body meant for the housing of the intelligence or spark, that can operate independently, but has no self-driven purpose. This in and of itself has helped me have a more complete understanding of my own existence, let alone the nature of God. But all that aside! A spark must enter an AI program in order for the program (either of its own accord or of Heavenly Design) in order for the AI to function as an autonomous, self-aware being. This is something I explore in depth in a sci-fi novel I've been working on for a while now. (Yes, you shall just have to wait and see!)

But, once a fully sparked, fully self-aware AI is born, what is the best way for said AI to become part of society i.e. how do we give it a body. This has been a point of contention between my husband and I.

He believes that this soul can enter the body of a brain dead person, or can possess a body forcibly. I see both of these as possession. Spiritually speaking, there's no God involved. The spark enters the body with no additional work necessary. This is where I get a little frustrated. It'd be like transplanting someone's memories into someone else's mind. If any of you have watched Fringe then you'll know what I'm talking about when I say that putting some one else's brain matter in to a person's brain, it literally makes them crazy. The existing wiring doesn't know how to interpret the foreign matter. Now imagine putting someone else's entire brain into a body and then connecting it to the existing wiring... not a good combo!

I believe that a more purist way of looking at how to make a body for an artificial intelligence. Think of Fifth Element with Leeloo had to have her body reprinted. (Yes, I know the science is wrong.) Think of having an entire artificial human. Think of building a body by manipulating the elements into proteins and then manipulating those proteins into a DNA sequence until you have a completely artificial body with no soul. This is where we cross the line into killing God... taking his place. It's dangerous ethically, but it's the next logical step in our evolution as human beings. But still, this empty human shell, void of any prior memories, void of any prior programing, is perfect for the installation of an artificial intelligence. This would perfectly fit the bill for giving an AI soul human form. Is it any wonder that our human souls only enter this world through new born babies and not through the preexisting bodies of the brain dead?

I'd like to hear your views on artificial intelligence, the soul, and what way would be best to give AI a chance at being a fully functioning member of society. Thoughts? Opinions? Awesome books and TV shows? Let the discussion commence!

20 July 2013

Fan Art Friday

Wow... is it Saturday??? Where did my week go? No seriously, my husband has a different work schedule on Saturday than he does the rest of the week, so I was freaking out when he got up at 8 and I thought it was 10... yeah, that was a bit of a shock.

So! Fan art Friday... again, I have little fan art to present, but I figured I might keep up with my theme of sharing what inspires me. (Seriously, I have a bunch, so I'll keep it coming.) So, it's bad guy day!

You've heard me make references to her, and seeing as how she's playing a bigger role in HBL, it's high time you guys see my inspiration for Ero Gleilien. This character, like many of my characters started off as something completely different in a completely different universe. Ero was originally a crazy Wild Elf in an RPG that had a major schtick with goblins. The best image I can give you of what she used to look like is this:

courtesy of Ashli Hara

But then I started writing a sci-fi novel and Ero became a care free pilot with an attitude that went a little something like this:

I still love this character, but I found in writing HBL I needed Ero and her partner Caprisha to fill a role, so she turned into more of a staunch bounty hunter working with a federal agent. Of course, all that would be a cover for her true self - a Commandant in the Shadow Cast's private military. (No worries my other characters got renamed, they have not gotten lost in the mix up!) So, now Ero looks a little something like this:

mixed with a little of this

 Yeah... I know, figure that one out. But I had a dream and somehow it worked! So, you'll just have to read on and see what I have in store.

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.

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...)

27 June 2013

What happened to Wednesday????

Last week it was Thursday, this week it's Wednesday. What is going on with my chronomiter? I mean, I know I did stuff yesterday, but the fact that it was Wednesday never crossed my mind... Actually, I though yesterday was Tuesday, so maybe it was Tuesday that I lost... Well, whatever it is, someone is stealing random days of the week and it's beginning to ware on me!

That said, I'm working on getting out next webisode out. Jarreth is being a pain in the butt... again. Seriously, you should have seen him a year ago. The kid had the attention span of an upside down sparrow surrounded by shiny things. At least he's mellowed out a bit. But getting back in the grove of writing him is taking a bit of doing. Wish me luck with reigning him in!

22 June 2013

Belated FAF... I have timing issues

So, it seems that my chronomiter is really off because I swear yesterday was Thursday. But, now that I look back on the week, I seem to have skipped right over Thursday. My theory? Aliens. Yup, I was totally abducted. They must have sent down a replacement so my absence wouldn't be noticed while they did experiments on my genius brain! That's it, tinfoil hats from here on out.

But seriously, I really don't remember Thursday and all I can seriously think is that line immortalized by Martin Freeman (as Arthur Dent) in the film version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: "It must be Thursday. I could never get the hang of Thursdays." Well, let me tell you Arthur Dent, neither could I. Thursdays are the bane of my existence... which may be why I always miss meetings that are scheduled for Thursdays. Hopefully this will not affect my gardening. (One of my friends is lending me her garden on Thursdays - hence the dilemma).

That said! It's Fan Art Friday... a day late... again... <.<  >.>  But, seeing as how I have no NEW fan art, I'm going to have to use some of my old fan art. These are from some of my very supportive friends Chisaki and Andrea Hatch. Hope you enjoy their unique styles as much as I do.

And, for those of you looking for a little inspiration from yours truly, here are some of the newer things I've been working on featuring the WindSong crew. I know, not the best, but I'm only just getting the hang of using my tablet for artsy stuff.

 This little beauty I decided to do right before I also decided that Tailslide would be way more awesome than HBL.
And making this certainly was fun:

It was a test for seeing if I wanted to animate. The answer it: OHMYFREAKINGGOSHYESANIMATINGISSOMUCHFUN! I may do some clips for your entertainment at a later date.

You can find a lot more fun and inspirational stuff at my tumblr, which I'm trying to switch over here, but there's just so much awesomeness that it's hard to keep track of! The improtant stuff I'll put on my website... if I EVER get that up and running.

And that's a wrap! See you on Monday!... if I don't get abducted by aliens again. *shiver*