Showing posts with label steampunk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label steampunk. Show all posts

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?”

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. ;)

05 August 2013

The Question that is Adrianna

So, I've had some questions arise as to when I would write a squeal to my novella, Adrianna.So, here are my plans: I have a series of 5 more novellas lined up. By the time they're all done I'm going to reprint them into two full books. I'm still working out the details of the story... which is a really fancy way of saying that I've hit a block of where the first chapter of the next book will go.

However! I can tell you that the next two novellas are titles Dawn and The Hidden War. If these give you any idea about what the topic of these stories are... well then you're a step ahead of me. I only have the vaguest of ideas on what to put in these novellas. This is mostly because I know exactly what's going into the 4th novella and I have no idea how to get there! As you may be able to conceive, this is more than a little frustrating for me, and explains my hiatus on the Pocketful of Pain series...

That said, I can leave you with some pictures of actors that inspired the PoP crew.







And introducing...!


If you haven't read Pocketful of Pain: Adrianna yet, you can snag a copy at Chapter One.

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!

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*

08 July 2013

Cyberpunk and Why it's Not *Exactly* What I Write

Alright, so due to my previous post about steampunk, and the vid at the end featuring the future of glass, I've had some people ask questions about my world and why I classify it "steampunk" and not "cyberpunk" and, while I have to say that this is an excellent question, I also have to say that based on the highly adaptive definition of both terms, it's really up to me to define where my world fits.

Take for example, Final Fantasy XIII  - heck, the majority of the FF series! - most would consider them some kind of fantasypunk or mythpunk. This is where things start getting really confusing and annoying for me. People seem to overdefine... well... everything! My friend considers this ^^^ cyberpunk. I could agree, but then I'm not an expert on subcultures and therefore couldn't classify it one way or the other.

Most true punks like to simplify cyberpunk into one term (much like steampunk) "high tech, low class". We see this a lot in the crazy cyberpunk 80s movies that have recently been making comebacks: Bladerunner, Demolition Man, Total Recall, Tron, RoboCop and all the rest. There are also modern movies that are clearly cyberpunk like Surrogates  and Babylon A.D. But then you have the more modern movies that some people are pretty skiddish to call cyberpunk, but clearly fit into the definition. These movies of course include Minority Report, Paycheck, and Avatar.

Where do you draw the line between cyberpunk and straight up sci-fi? Where do you draw the line between cyberpunk and post-apocalyptic? In my case, where do you draw the line between steampunk and cyberpunk? For me these fall under the same category as questions like "where do you draw the line between sci-fi and fantasy?". The answer is that you can't clearly draw a line, which is why book stores put them all in the same jumbled up section under the label of "Sci-fi/Fantasy" and call it a day. In my opinion, it's up to the authors to decide, not the reader.

For me, I feel as though I am clearly in the realm of steampunk even though any hard core hyper-classifier would consider me to technically be an atompunk because of the era it takes place in. (You can find the list of sub-genres here.) I mean, the difference between atom punk and steampunk are simply explained with these pictures:



Then again, if you look very closely at my world, it could be clearly argued that I write a retro form of cyberpunk that isn't really classified as steampunk at all! In fact, with CeLeSTe being an AI that pretty much runs the ship along the same lines as Cortana from Halo, and with all the talk of advanced biology, reprograming brains, pockets of space-time, and glass interfaces, it begins to sound very cyberpunk. To all of these arguments I say "Shut your pie hole and go write your own story" and I wish to inform you that while atom punk is pretty darn cool, it wasn't the esthetic I was going for.

For those of you still confused by all my uses of the term "punk" and the argument in general, I have to say I'm right there with you. Here's the long and short of it. Cyberpunk has evolved over the years to include a number of different sub-genres including but not limited to!: Steampunk, Teslapunk, Dieselpunk, Decopunk, Atompunk, Biopunk, Nanopunk, Stonepunk, Nowpunk, Splatterpunk, Elfpunk, Mythpunk, and now including Rococopunk (yeah... look it up - it's pretty much along the lines of the latest version of The Three Musketeers). These are all technically subcategories of Cyberpunk, namely they are featuring some sort of "high _____" (whether it be biotech, magic, or steam) and definitely includes "low class".

Notice that all these sub-punks have one thing in common. Yeah, you guessed it. "Punk". These genres are for the rebels, the crazies, the teens, and the working class. This is the major thing that sets any of these genres apart from historical fiction or literary fiction or straight up sci-fi/fantasy (which is a point of great contention among fans and creators in these fields).

So, if you're looking for a straight up clean cut definition of what the difference between a steampunk and a cyberpunk is, you aren't going to really find one other than "they obviously take place in different time periods".

That said, I want to hear your takes on what sets these sub-punks apart or what you would classify The Shadow Cast Chronicles as in the comments below!


You will also find in each of these sub-punks there is a heavy focus on fashion and gadgets. Seriously! Look them up! The first thing that pops up in each search is "____-punk Fashion".

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: