Wands

The Wand chooses the Wizard…

Greetings everyone!

I have been dabbling with “wand-craft” over the last few weeks, making my own custom wood wands.

Here are pictures of what I have been making, in the order made.

This was first wand I ever made. Is 12.75”. Made from scrap pine (is very light), stained with dark walnut, with metallic gold highlights (feels almost Egyptian to me), with a light polyurethane gloss coat.

Second wand is 13.25” made scrap pine and oak. The handle is again stained dark walnut, it is “worn” where the thumb sits were it nearly touches the wand. The wand is oak(?) natural with the rings with metallic gold highlight. Again a light coat of polyurethane.

My third wand 13 3/8” in length and the handle is made of one of my favorite exotic woods: Cocobolo. It has a good weight and feel the other 2 Wands are lacking. It has one very thin coat of polyurethane but it makes the cocobolo pop! I have glued real leather lace in the center of the handle, and wood burned the spiral grooves. The Wand is a simple oak (?).

I just finished this wand, it is sort of inspired by dual bladed Light Sabres. I imagine the wizard with this wand likes flipping it in his fingers, like I do. 🙂

Roughly 13 7/8” in length. The wand handle is African Padauk, with a simple wood burned triangle pattern, and the wand(s) are make of oak. The wands are opposites of each other. One is concave the other more convex. The wand is coated in a thin layer of polyurethane.

That is it for now, but I have more designs coming…!

-Michael

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Brandon Sanderson · Woodworking · Writing

Updates, Updates, Updates

First Update:

For those of you wondering, I won first place from the 2018 Placer County (June 18-21) for “Kaladin & Syl and the First Ideals”. It was Awesome!

Second Update:

Amazing Microfiction is on a short hiatus while I do some work on my Fantasy novel Reflections of Ruin. I have made made more progress in the last month than in the last three years thanks to a program called Aeon Timeline.

Third Update:

In conjunction with writing Reflections of Ruin, I have a side project that is directly related. So here is a sneak peek at what might show up in my novel…

Hand made, custom designed Aetheric Wands…

Brandon Sanderson · Woodworking

Kaladin & Syl with The First Ideals

This is a custom made hand carved wood home decor sign, inspired by Brandon Sanderson’s Epic Fantasy novel “The Way of Kings: Book One of the Stormlight Archive”.

The graphic is my own vision of the main character Kaladin and his spren Sylphrena (Syl for short). The words on the banners are known as the First Ideals of the Knights Radiant. An ancient order of protectors whom defend the world of Roshar against ancient invaders.

I designed the picture on my computer using Affinity Designer, graphic design and illustration program for MacOS. Then I simplified the picture for printing on a laser printer. Laser printers use a thermal transfer process to put toner (not ink) on to paper.

After printing the designs on paper you can transfer them from the paper onto another surface using a special flat tip on the end of a wood burning tool. You place the graphic against the surface you want to transfer it to, in this case the wood surface, and rub the heated tip against the back of the paper. The heat then transfers the toner to the wood. Uneven heating can cause the picture not to transfer.

The main background is made of Poplar (Populus alba) and the banners are crafted from Red Oak (Quercus rubra). No power tools were used in making this Design. It was done using hand tools with blades and Xacto knives. The piece is coated in Polyurethane.

I tweeted about taking it to the 2018 Placer County Fair and got a response from Brandon Sanderson about it! Here is the tweet and response.

Now I have to wait until Thursday June 21 to find out how I did at the fair. This is how I did last year…

Writing

Arcane Gearsmith launches Amazing Microfiction Podcast.

I am sorry for so few updates but there is a reason. Long term plans have finally come together and I am proud to present the launch of the Amazing Microfiction Podcast! Currently there are three episodes available with more on the way.

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What is Amazing Microfiction about?

Amazing Microfiction, is a podcast focused on genre based micro-fiction (meaning Fantasy, Science Fiction, Mysteries, and Adventure stories, just to name a few). Every other week I will select stories from my own genre based micro-fiction and read those stories to to you like they were audiobooks.

But what is micro-fiction?

Well, Microfiction generally refers to short stories between 50 and approximately 300 words in length, there is some debate over this, but for this podcast, I will keep each of my selections under 300 words.

Here is some of our promotional copy for some info:

New adventures await you just beyond the horizon.

Fantasy. Science Fiction. Mysteries. Brought to you in “Micro” sized portions, for your listening enjoyment.

By using a highly advanced deployment of electronic multi-media distribution services via data pulse compression and the most revolutionary form of analytical computation-centric mechanical devices, we can bring to you, the listener, an astounding audio-phonic experience to delight the senses.

This “podcast” as it has been called, will feature genre based micro-fiction written by fantasy author Michael C. Miller.

 

I am so happy to finally let you know about the podcast! Please check it out and let us know what you think!

– Michael

Kaladin Soundtrack

The Kaladin Soundtrack: A Track by Track Review

The Kaladin Soundtrack

A Track by Track Review by Michael C. Miller

Introduction

Once in a blue moon, we as mortals, latch onto something that we can be a part of, something that reaches beyond ourselves, and in doing so hope to make some kind of mark on the world or add something to our lives.

Often though, we have no way of knowing what that something is. But it is often that unknown sense of wonder, that changes a person. In this case a book, a seemingly simple epic fantasy, that has affected not just thoughts, but enriched the lives of so many. This book is The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson.

Literature is something that we have clung to as a mark of humanity and intellect. But by the act of this adoption we create an emotional connection to characters and events that you can relate to your own life. The expression of that connection, can stir the heart and make someone feel closer to the story, and The Black Piper has done this with music.

Kaladin is a motion picture style soundtrack based on Brandon Sanderson’s best selling novel The Way of Kings, the first book in The Stormlight Archive.

The brain-child of Sae Sae Norris, Michael Bahnmiller, and Richard Williams, Kaladin dares to take us on a groundbreaking musical journey through one of the greatest epic fantasy books ever written, the afore mentioned The Way of Kings.

Kaladin is not just the work of these three guiding individuals, but the result of thousands of hours of work by hundreds of composers, musicians, graphic designers, singers, artists, producers, and behind the personnel, all of whom helped make it come to life. And to all of those talented people, who participated in the creation of Kaladin, a well deserved, and heart felt thank you, from all of the Kickstarter Funders.

The Album

Never have I been so involved in promoting an endeavor on social media that I cared about so deeply. After all, it is the soundtrack to my favorite novel, how could I refuse help?

I am going to say up front I love this album. It has been nearly a decade since I have liked, or even cared about, a musical score as much as this one.

My thoughts and opinions come from a lifetime of listening to science fiction, fantasy, and motion picture soundtracks, and not from anything else.

Please don’t take offense at my dissection of Kaladin’s tracks. Just because I dissect a track doesn’t mean that I dislike it, on the contrary, I only point out my own thoughts so that I can express them then set them aside to then be able to enjoy this thoughtfully created album.

At first I disliked several of the preview tracks for my own assorted reasons. The addition of live recorded strings, woodwinds, and singers help the album as a whole be more cohesive and helps to raise the bar across the entire album. Now many of the tracks that I disliked I can now enjoy fully, and the tracks I did like became even better.

In fact my only comparison to the this well thought out and lovingly crated album is Howard Shore’s score for Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy over a decade ago.

 

Track 01 – Oathpact Abandoned

Sandra Schnieders’ powerfully moving Oathpact Abandoned begins our musical journey to the world of Roshar. As with many of these tracks Sandra’s music stirs our hearts at the sense of loss. You could say that loss is one of Kaladin’s themes as we are pulled back to it time and again through out the album. Oathpact Abandoned is a wonderfully crafted beginning to Kaladin.

 Track 02 – Assassin In White

To be quite honest, my expectations of Caleb Blood’s Assassin in White were off the charts even before I heard a single beat of music. I expected pulse pounding Parshendi rhythm, and Caleb delivered. Assassin in White is near perfection. The only fault I can find is that the drums do not carry through to the very end of the track, even mutely, but the fault here may be my high expectations again. Caleb’s pulse pounding track is one of my favorites from the album.

Track 03 – Stormblessed

With Richard Williams Stormblessed we are introduced to Kaladin the soldier. Williams brings our hero to life with energy and passion, flooding our senses with rhythms of battle and loss. Stormblessed is a pleasure to the ears.

Track 04 – Honor Is Dead

With Michael Bahnmiller’s Honor is Dead, Kaladin transitions from the heart pounding battles of the previous tracks to the more emotional feeling of loss that I mentioned before. Michael’s Honor is Dead is a beautiful heart stirring score that is subtle and wonderfully composed.

Track 05 – Sylphrena

Philip Klein’s Sylphrena was one of of the preview tracks was unsure about. But with the finished track complete however, Klein breathes life into Sylphrena, giving this score a sense of wonder and playfulness, allowing us to be carried away in the melody.

Track 06 – The Shattered Plains

Richard Williams brings to life a haunting vision of Roshar in The Shattered Plains. Tone and tempo change as we journey through the score. The “midi mix” from the preview track brought to mind Native American or aboriginal tones, but the final mix gives the track and entirely different feel, one of Indonesian influence, different but not unwelcome to my western norms. Williams brings a new level of understanding to The Shattered Plains and it’s Parshendi occupants. I keep finding new things each time I listen.

Track 07 – Bridge Four

Richard Williams continues themes from The Shattered Plains, and surprises us anew in Bridge Four. Again Richard flexes his composing muscles with Bridge Four, bringing us a enjoyable discordant romp across the chasms. The haunting chanting of the bridge men echo in my mind long after the track is over and once again I find myself discovering new tid-bits with each listen.

Track 08 – Honor Chasm

Philip Klein brings us the powerful emotionally charged Honor Chasm, giving life to both Kaladin’s despair and his renewal. Klein masterfully stirs the emotions as we listen to this compelling score.

Track 09 – The Blackthorn

Sandra Schneiders’ The Blackthorn gives us a glimpse into Dalinar. Sandra shows us a hero torn between his past and future, exploding into breathtaking action. The Blackthorn reminds us that there are times we can do the impossible.

Track 10 – Alethi Codes of War

I knew that Caleb Blood’s Alethi Codes of War would be one of my favorite tracks even while listening to the preview tracks. The score practically exudes Honor. This track is not without faults however. There are two parts in the final mix, one near the beginning and one near the end, that feel over composed, where the strings and the rest of the instruments feel like they fight for control of the track. Despite this, Alethi Codes of War is one of my favorite scores on the album.

Track 11 – The King’s Wit

Richard Williams and Katisse Buckingham pleasantly surprised me with The King’s Wit. The wonderfully playful flute shines as we roam a light eyes feast. I can see Wit insulting Brightness Marakal. “What a disaster that hairstyle is; how brave of you to show it to the world”. Once again I find enjoyment from the unexpected. This track is fun and fleeting at the same time, making it sparkle among the surrounding tracks.

Track 12 – You’re In My Spot

Richard Williams again returns us to Bridge Four with You’re in my Spot. Both moving and heartbreaking, Richard shows us Kaladin assuming the role of leader and taking Rocks spot in the center of the death line. Williams vivid score puts us in the sandals of the bridge-men and we feel their pain and loss.

Track 13 – Chasm Kata

Michael Bahnmiller’s Chasm Kata is one of my favorite scores of the entire album. Classically composed, Chasm Kata rises from mediocrity gives me chills every time I listen to it. I close my eyes and become Kaladin doing the kata. Goosebumps every single time. This track is just pure awesome, and filled with Bahnmiller’s subtle yet refined style.

Track 14 – Unite Them

Michael Bahnmiller’s Unite Them is a joy to listen to. Bahnmiller shows a wide range of composing prowess though out the score, making me listen to it again and again to hear what I missed the first fifty times.

Track 15 – Bridge Four Shield

Richard Williams is back leading from the deathline of Bridge Four again in the epic Bridge Four Shield. His emotional score adds to yet another notch is his increasing collection of amazing scores. Williams weaves Bridge Four Shield expertly into the Kaladin narrative.

Track 16 – Highstorm

Richard Williams assaults us from a new vantage point with the wonderfully powerful Highstorm. This score was one of my favorite preview tracks and continues to be so even now. Richard shows his composing skill and Logic (haha), to place us at the wall of the Highstorm. I can envision Kaladin battling the storm itself, and Williams shows us the power of a Highstorm.

Track 17 – Rysn

We are swept up from The Shattered Plains and brought to Shinovar with Michael Bahnmiller’s Rysn. Michael paints a picture of calm and serenity among the strange Shin people. At 0:50 though the song feels as though it has moved Rysn and us to the Reshi Isles, when the score takes on a Pacific Islander tone, making this part of Rysn feel like it is part of Shallan not Kaladin. Aeralie Brighton’s vocals are angelic and help to lift Rysn into a being delightfully pleasant score.

Track 18 – Hearthstone (Tein’s Theme)

Nathaniel Drew and Sandra Schneiders’ Hearthstone (Tein’s Theme) is one of the only tracks on Kaladin that did not settle well with me even from listening to the preview tracks. There is nothing technically or musically wrong with the track, although somehow I feel Hearthstone is being approached from a skewed musical angle. Tein was a vibrant and wonderfully alive child and I feel that the score may have not met my expectations.

Track 19 – Sas Nahn

Sandra Schneiders’ heart wrenching Sas Nahn makes us feel Kaladin’s betrayal. Kaladin’s theme of loss continues here in Sandra’s carefully crafted score. We hear Kaladin’s guilt at the loss of his squad then his larger betrayal by Amaram. Sandra orchestrates this crucial score with brilliance, giving Kaladin another solid track in its already full quiver.

Track 20 – The Day of Recreance

Michael Bahnmiller brings The Day of Recreance into focus with a wonderfully introspective track. Bahnmiller takes the continuing theme of loss and finds new avenues to explore it through Dalinar’s vision. I manage to find a sense of wonder and awe in the notes of this score.

Track 21 – Wandersail

Michael Bahnmiller and Chad Cannon’s Wandersail is the crown jewel of the Kaladin Soundtrack. Rarely have I heard such a beautiful score brought to life so brilliantly. Chad Cannon’s mastery of the flute is one of the stars of this score. The flute leaps and flys through the track bringing Derethil and the Wandersail to life. Bahnmiller’s technical mastery of the composition weaves together all the musical elements of the score, plus the more than 30 members of the Wandersail Choir (Kickstarter Backers all). These pieces and more make Wandersail the star of the Kaladin Soundtrack and my favorite track of the album.

Track 22 – Three Glyphs (Wind, Beloved, Protection)

Of all of the tracks on the album, Richard Williams, Three Glyphs (Wind, Beloved, Protection), is the only track that I have a major problem with. Honestly it’s probably just me but… I’m fine up until 0:59 seconds into the song and then from out of nowhere it sounds like a Doctor Who Soundtrack where David Tennant is saving the day for the next 30 seconds. (see The Cyberman by Murray Gold at 3:03 how it is similar but not the same). The rest of the track is great. Unfortunately Three Glyphs is the only track that kicks me out of Roshar.

Track 23 – The Rhythm of Morning

Kristina Bishoff makes us feel for the Parshendi in The Rhythm of Morning. The tone of her lyrics help us to understand the enemies sense of loss, and adds another layer of complexity to Kaladin.

Track 24 – 16 Seconds Pre-Death

Richard Williams returns us to Bridge Four in 16 Seconds Pre-Death. Urgency and the sense of loss give us another dimension of Kaladin. The background vocals help to make this track vividly memorable.

Track 25 – Tien

Caleb Blood’s Tien is nothing short of a tear jerker. Caleb zeros in on Kaladin’s pain at the loss of his brother. Caleb shows us that he has not forgotten how to create a simple yet moving melody.

Track 26 – The Tower

Richard Williams’ The Tower is emotionally charged and ready for battle. The track explodes half way through the score and keeps you at the heart of the scene. I wish that The Tower were longer so that I could spend more time reveling in Williams’ dynamic score.

Track 27 – Thath (Justice)

Michael Bahnmiller’s Thath (Justice) brings together all the remaining elements of loss to help bring a conclusion to Kaladin’s main theme. Bahnmiller does this wonderfully creating a score that swells with hope out of loss. Thath (Justice) is one of my favorite tracks of the entire album.

Track 28 – Warrior

One of Kaladin’s best surprises was Warrior by TREN. In true soundtrack fashion, there was, to my absolute delight, a rock ballad. I throughly enjoyed Warrior. The track is perfectly placed following Bahnmiller’s stirring Thath (Justice). TREN has created a classic rock ballad that is worthy of anyone’s play list.

Track 29 – Shallan’s Lullaby (Bonus Track)

Alex Crandall’s Shallan’s Lullaby (Bonus Track) is haunting in its beauty. Maggie Cubillos is mesmerizing and gives us an amazing performance. I hear something new with each listen and really deserves far more attention than I’m giving it.

Track 30 – Tarah (Bonus Track)

Sae Sae Norris’ Tarah (Bonus Track) is is pleasure to listen to. Stirring and introspective, Tarah brings forth images of love lost and fondly remembered. Sae Sae shows that she can hold her own, going toe to toe with other composers.

Track 31 – The Knights Radiant Theme (Bonus Track)

Michael Bahnmiller again shows his mastery of Roshar with The Knights Radiant Theme (Bonus Track). He tricks us intro thinking the track is done and then gives us a modern upbeat reprise of the theme. Once again I crave for a longer track wanting more of Bahnmiller’s enlightened score.

Track 32 – This is Not How It Ends (Kaladin Kickstarter Theme) NOT ON THE ALBUM 

I would not do justice to the story of Kaladin if I did not include the Caleb Blood’s This Is Not How it Ends. Though not officially part of the Kaladin Soundtrack, it was essential to Kaladin’s Kickstarter Campaign. Caleb’s intriguing score helped to set the tone for this wonderful project and is another of Caleb’s best scores.

Conclusion

The Black Piper has created in Kaladin a groundbreaking soundtrack album. It redefines the meaning of “Book Soundtrack” and sets a new standard for all those that will follow. Care and thoughtfulness shine through each track, weaving together a narrative that is a pleasure to listen to time and again.

Kaladin is unique in my experience, first by being a part in what I have coined as the Kaladin Kickstarter Miracle, and second by having the privilege of getting a few behind the scenes glimpses into the creation of the album.

I want to thank, once again, all the people associated with this project: the composers, musicians, singers, artists, graphic artists, producers, and behind the scenes personnel involved in Kaladin’s creation.

I also want to thank all of the Kickstarter Funders who, by their generosity, supported this unique album and The Black Piper.

Thank You for the best Christmas Present of the Year.

– Michael

Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson Signing and Other Stuff…

Well Hello Everyone! I know that I’ve been away from the site for a while, but it’s been busy around here!

After basking in the glory of the Kaladin Kickstarter Miracle, I began making some fan art designs based on my favorite fantasy book THE WAY OF KINGS by Brandon Sanderson. I began posting them on Facebook, in some of the Brandon Sanderson Fan Pages and got a huge response! Here is just a small sampling of the artwork that I have done. I use a couple of vector illustration programs on my Mac and iPad Pro (mine is last years model though, Ha!), Vectornator on the iPad and Affinity Designer on the Mac.

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Well the upshot is that I got the attention of the Kaladin Kickstarter founders and was asked to have some of my artwork put into the Kaladin Artbook! So the result is that I have been toiling in my free hours on new designs that are so awesome, that they are SECRET until the Artbook is released! Hazah!

And if YOU missed out on the Kickstarter Campign you can still check out Kaladin: The Soundtrack and Artbook and order a copy. But just incase you need more info…

BackerKit_1Well, after all the designing I did manage to get to Borderlands Books in San Francisco for the Brandon Sanderson signing for OATHBRINGER on November 15th! Ok, by manage it, I meant that I’d been planning it for months (got the day off of work and everything!). Man the place was hopping! Here are a few pictures from the event! I even found Kaladin and Syl!

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I was also able to get video of Brandon’s Lecture, Q & A, and Reading, all recorded in HD on my iPhone 7 Plus… You can watch all three of them by clicking on the links above! Just remember that my arm was leaning against a magazine rack for over an hour, and there are people moving around… but the stabily was great, thanks Apple! If you are intrested there is video of the ARCANUM UNBOUNDED signing last year at Borderland Books as well (4 videos in total). Before I forget I want to give a big thank you to Borderlands Books for hosting the signing and for their patience with the crowds!

Man, thats alot to take in one sitting but I know you can handle ONE more item of interest. Most of you know I’m a fan of all kinds of games, and that I have a new found fondness for the Steampunk genre. But what if I could combine the two? You might get this concept of mine…

Steam

Well it is still in development but I’ll let you know more if there is more! Thank you for stopping by and checking out the site!

Michael

Uncategorized

The Kaladin Kickstarter Miracle

D975B160-EFE9-49CA-8167-54A99EAAAB6EFor those of you who do not know, I am a HUGE fan of fantasy author Brandon Sanderson. I own majority of his books, most of them autographed.

I discovered Brandon Sanderson while reading The Wheel of Time series by the late Robert Jordan. Brandon was hand picked by the authors wife (and editor) Harriet McDougal to finish the last book in the series (that ended up being 3 books: The Gathering Storm, The Towers of Midnight, and A Memory of Light).

The Stormlight Archive is one of his main fantasy series. The first book, The Way of Kings, is just amazing and is one of my favorite books. (By the way, my top three currently are: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, and Still Life with Crows – the fourth book in the Pendergast series – by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child).

I felt like I deeply connected to one of the main characters: Kaladin. I identify with his feelings of failure and loss, and of inability to save those he cares about. His character at the same time continues to ‘protect those who can’t protect themselves’ with surprising results.

Last Month The Black Piper, with approval from Brandon Sanderson’s company Dragonsteel Entertainment, began a Kickstarter campaign for Kaladin: a Stormlight Archive Album + Art Book. They literally created motion picture quality soundtrack for the book The Way of Kings. The group had already spent three years making the first half the tracks for the album and where looking for $110,000 to create a 2 Disc soundtrack, and a companion Art Book by talented artists. The money would allow them to finish the album and record at the Abby Road studios in London and get someone to mix the album.

I talked to my wife about it. It took a couple weeks before I made my pledge for the $45 “the Lopen”. (a pledge level with a physical copy of the Soundtrack). After seeing the pledges slow down, it seemed to stagnate at around $60,000, I asked my wife if I could change my pledge. As my birthday present I was able to up my pledge to $120 “the Shallan” (a pledge level with a physical copy of the soundtrack AND the Art Book, plus $5 for an autographed copy). I posted all over Facebook about upping my pledge and asked for others to do the same.

I was excited but worried about pledge levels, I really wanted the album. I attended the first livestream, forgoing some sleep for work. It was wonderful and informative, despite the technical difficulties that plagued Sae Sae Norris one of the core of three creators of the project. I managed to win a digital version of the artwork by attending the livestream (sweet!) but the Kickstarter was still well short of it’s goal, hanging around $78,000 at the time I finally crashed and took a nap.

That night they announced a second live stream that coincided with the end of the Kickstarter. I wanted to watch but was so tired and needed to sleep before work. I didn’t sleep well because I was worrying about the Kickstarter not making enough for the project to be funded.

I went to work saddened thinking that the Project had fallen short of the $110,000 goal. Another thing I had hoped for was now gone. Just like Kaladin.

On my first break (at around midnight Pacific time) I looked at Facebook on my iPhone and there it was. Sae Sae had posted that they were FUNDED! They had made a huge push at the end and had made 102% of their goal! Wow! The amount of support from Sanderson Fans everywhere was truly amazing! It brought tears to my eyes and I got a little emotional (so what?, it was awesome!). It was like your basketball team coming from behind and hitting the three pointer, with nothing but net, to win the game. What could be more sweet? I just call it The Kaladin Kickstarter Miracle.

For more information about the end of the Kickstarter check out the following link: update #17 for Kaladin Kickstarter.

 

 

Writing

Daily Writing – September 2017

I tried this last month and people seemed to like it so I’m back with more selections from my Daily Writing Journal. These are meant to be short 50 word or more blurbs to get myself in the writing mood. There is no form or continuity to the blurbs, they are just random thoughts from my brain to the keyboard. Enjoy!

9-1-2017

Blood pooled on the floor of the observation deck, collecting the droplets that fell from above. The body hung from the scaffling wrapped in a canvas tarp like a butterfly in a cocoon. The bottom of the tarp, where the body had shifted, was stained crimson.

One of the workmen had found the body after he had returned from lunch. Now the authorities were on their way, sirens blaring. More time for the murderer to escape. More time for the murderer revel in his victory.

9-2-2017

Alan was pressed against the ship’s hull. Several of the ropes securing the cargo had become loose, sending wooden crates tumbling across the room. One of those crates had pinned Alan’s leg between one of the crates and the hull.

He felt a warm rush flood up his leg, a fire burning, spreading slowly though his body. His foot tingled and it felt as if it weighed a thousand pounds.

9-3-2017

If this was the best tavern in town, he should just give up now. There were over half a dozen nudgers prowling around the bar, some leaning against the stair’s railings, and others sat at tables trying to lure in the next mark. All he wanted was a drink.

One of then walked up to him and gave him wink and smile. This particular nudger, a woman in her thirties, though it was sometimes hard to tell. That line of work seemed to unnaturally age women, stealing their youth as well as their innocence. He always felt sorry for them, praying to the Almighty that he would protect them from the harm.

9-4-2017

Olan jerked away from the guards grasp and stumbled down the hall. He hadn’t done anything wrong, it was that brat. That stupid little street urchin who rummaged through the garbage. What had he done now?

“Stop!” Called the Guard.

“I didn’t do anything! Go away!” Alan spouted as he loped down the old alleyway.

“We just want to talk to you!”

Talk! Ha! When did a copper ever just want to talk? They just wanted to blame him for something that urchin had done.

The guard stopped. He would come back eventually. Besides, he had the man’s coin purse that he’d dropped coming out of the pub. That little street urchin had found it and turned it in to him.

9-5-2017

There was nothing grander than a view from atop the Dock-tower as the sun was rising. Corim watched as the sun stretched itself over the horizon, the sunlight causing the distant storm clouds reflecting it’s orange glow.

Far below him few noticed the sunrise. The Docks were full and there were plenty of airships waiting to take their turn unloading. Dockworkers, unloaded ships at an astounding rate. Corim Smiled. This was how life was supposed to be. Tradesmen and merchants buying and shipping their wares, and Corim collected the docking fees.

9-6-2-2017

Light reflected off the cold grey of the gun barrel giving the snipers position away. A moment later a body fell from the roof of the warehouse, the corpse just missing a street vendor selling meat pies. There were screams as people noticed the body. Typical of these city folk.

He had found one assassin, but there were two more stalking. That could be just rumor but he didn’t think so…

9-7-2017

Maro Lonewolf watched the crowd gather at the base of the oak tree, the one that the locals called The Hanging Tree. As one would expect, this tree had been a favorite of local lynch mobs since before Maro could remember. Today would be no different.

One of the homesteaders had caught a burglar whom had broken into his home and attacked his wife. The husband had found the man, pulled the him off of his wife, and had beaten him until he’d quit moving.

Steampunk Costume

Steampunk Costume Design

I recently did a sketch of my idea for my Steampunk Costume. I used my first generation 12.9 inch iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and Procreate app.

The gun on my back is the rifle I made earlier this year. You can see the Elite Aetheric Wave Disruptor Rifle Mark – 1 by visiting the menu link above.

Thanks for stopping by.

Uncategorized

Skin Trade Cover , Facebook, and Other Thoughts

Well another weekend has come and gone. Tonight I head back to grindstone, but before I do, I thought I would catch you all up on a few points of interest.

I have been working on a new angle for my novel and an very pleased by it. I’ll talk more about this in a future post. Here is a small teaser, the temporary cover art for “Skin Trade” my current fantasy/mystery writing project.

ST_COVER_2.png

I have made a Facebook Page for Arcane Gearsmith and you can check it out for yourself by clicking the link here or in the sidebar. (This is still in flux so please be patient).

Also check out my previous post “Daily Writing – August 2017”, there are more than a few good ideas there. They are meant to be short 50 word or more blurbs. There is no context, no reference, just the random thoughts put on a page.

That’s it for now.

– Michael

Uncategorized

Daily Writing – August 2017

One of the things we authors often forget to write about in our Blogs are the things the readers want. We tend to talk an awful lot about the art of writing and how we cope with different issues that commonly plague wordsmiths.

Well today I’m going to try something different. This Blog should satisfy both writers and readers. I started a Daily Writing Log a week or so ago and I am posting my results for all to read.

These are meant to be short 50 word or more blurbs. There is no context, no reference, just the random thoughts put on a page.

8-21-2017

If the boredom didn’t get Alfred the frostbite would. It was sparking freezing. He had been assigned to this guard post nearly a month ago and in that time the weather had gone from damp and cold to freezing and miserable.

Alfred laughed. The regiment had given him summer supplies. Summer! The quartermaster was probably either drunk or cleaning out his stock and had just given him the most easily accessible supply packs. Summer his ass! It was sparking freezing!

8-22-2017

Flames raced through the small window opening. The fire danced and moved to the currents of air, the flow of the wind, the trail of fuel for the fire. Greedily the flames leapt at the fresh source of life. Old dusty curtains, long dry and brittle, caught the sparks and within moments exploded into flame.

The old house was nothing but decaying wood and clay bricks, it would be enveloped by the fire, dined on by the hungry heat of the flames.

8-23-2017

“What the hell is wrong with you?”

Darren scoffed. “You. You’re the problem! From the minute you got here all you’ve done is order us around. And we’re tired of it!”

Retu smiled. “Listen here dirtbag, I didn’t come down here, into this filth to be yelled at. I came to warn you of an attack. If you don’t want my help, fine.
You and your tunnel rats can die without me. I’ve got better things to do, like clipping my nose hair. Excuse me.” Retu turned walking back up the tunnel with out saying another word.

8-24-2017

Gwen’s head felt like it was going to break open. She was unable to move, tied to the damp stone altar with thick leather cords that cut into her wrists and ankles. Her head was immobile as well, fastened to the altar by a braided leather mesh. It was similar to a horses bridal, but much more rigid. There was even a wooden bit jammed into her mouth to prevent her hurting herself.

The water dripped again, smacking her in the middle of the forehead. Gwen counted to herself: One. Two. Three. She reached a count of thirteen and was struck by another drop of water. Again the counting. Again the drop. Over and over. How long had it been. She had counted the dripping water thousands upon thousands of times. Her lips were cracked and bleeding. Her mouth dry as a desert.

Gwen was weak. She could feel it in her bones. She wouldn’t last much longer. Then, a peace came over her, like a wave of comfort and warmth. Her body relaxed, the tense muscles resting after the strain. She knew had done it. She had passed the test. She knew she had saved her people.

8-25-2017

Enoch stood at the edge of the precipice, his life-force quickly fading away. His bare feet cold against the damp stone of the cliff. Streams of water rushed past his feet spraying jets of mist out into the abyss below.

They had told him not to look down. Trust the Elders. Jump. You will be safe.
Despite their assurances Enoch was terrified. Jump over the edge of the cliff? Where they mad? Why had he agreed to do this?

He looked over the edge. Blackness. The mist tumbled into the chasm and disappeared. If he fell that same darkness would consume him too. Panic rose in him, his body shaking in fear.

Then without provocation he remembered why he was here. With in moments he stopped shaking. His fear vanishing. Enoch closed his eyes and leapt into the abyss. He was at peace, floating through the air, knowing his mother would live with his sacrifice.

8-26-2017

Hokar crouched on a high limb of a runewood tree watching the pack of Jakk Wolves far below him. He had spotted the creatures while he was hunting along the deep forest game trail that he had found a few days ago. The trail lead to a series of small ponds fed from an underground stream. The wolves were slowly coming in behind the other animals, the pack spreading out like fan to prevent escaping prey.
Hokar knew that this is how The Wilds were. There were predators and prey. And he knew that he should not interfere with the Circle, no matter how much he wanted to. He was a Protector of The Wilds, not it’s nursemaid.

8-27-2017

Nefa sat on the mud brick roof, legs dangling care free over the side of her dwelling. This had been her family home for as long as she could remember. The narrow canyon walls were only a stones throw away. But the canyon was deceptive, like the coa snake, like her clan.

Lioc, the elder spirit had made this hidden valley for them. He had molded it from the land, shaping it with his will, and was given the blessing of the Mother Spirit. A gift to the Children of the Plains.

Nefa’s father, the clan elder had found this place. A place for his people to hide from the invaders, the thieves who plundered this land for their unseen King.

8-28-2017

Jero watched as the Elder traced the ancient symbols onto the sand covered ground. The first was Loic, Spirit of Safety. Next came Niku, the Mother Spirit, Spirit of Healing. Finally the Elder drew the symbol of Korak, the Spirit of Justice, and of Revenge.

Jero looked up to meet the eyes of the Elder. There was a twinkle of amusement in them. How had he known?

The elder smiled back at Jero. The Elder pulled a small leather pouch of crystal dust and a slowly covered the symbols. The Elder nodded to Jero.

Jero closed his eyes and began singing the song of Renewal. The Elder waited for the song to begin again then joined his raspy voice to the song.

8-29-2017

There was never enough time. The old man cursed looking over his shoulder. The crowd was coming closer. He had to escape.

The old man turned, stumbling down the dark alley and away from the angry masses. He moved with astonishing speed. The speed with which fear powered a man forward.

8-30-2017

Sara reached out toward her sister, desperately flailing her arms to break her restraint. “No!”

“Hold her, damn you! Keep her back!”

A scream tore through the air like thunder. Her sister’s scream full of anguish and pain.

“What are you doing to her? Animals!” Sara began to sob, still helplessly trying to pull away from her tormentor.

Murmurs rippled through the small crowd of people that were around her sister. Another scream. The crowd suddenly quieted.

A cry pierced the night. A sweet high pitched thing, that meant only one thing.
Sara Smiled. Her baby niece had finally arrived.

8-31-2017

Jena had to get away from this place. The stone walls, the stone floors, even the stone doors, disturbed her. She couldn’t stand it any longer.

There were dazzling tapestries to cover the damp walls, thick rich carpets to cover the cold floor, and and warm fires in stone hearths. None of these made her feel any better because she knew she could never leave.

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Crafting World-Building Elements

I am getting back into the writing mindset. It has been a while since I have written any significant amount of fiction because of my last project the Elite Aetheric Wave Disruptor Rifle Mark – I and I am itching to get back to it. The Rifle was a form of research for my novels. One of the characters created the weapon, as I did, by hand. It took me over 100 hours over 5 months to complete but the insights I gain will eventually surface in my writing.

Concept drawings are another way of world-building for your stories. I use both pencil and paper, and an 12.9 iPad Pro with Apple Pencil, to create these images. Here are a couple images I made on the iPad Pro in a program called Procreate.

Visuals can often help to focus our descriptions and include details we often exclude in our writing. Did you notice the Dragon-born armor is a mix of Samurai and Ancient Greek armor? Did you notice the Acorn hull and leaves as part of the Mites’ armor? These are the types of details that can be forgotten in descriptions.

Once again these are just a couple of examples of Creating World-Building for your ideas, and certainly not the only examples of what you can do.

-Michael

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What is Steampunk?

I have recently come to love the Steampunk style and aethesethic. To me it conjures ideas of steam engines, fancy woodwork, complicated brass and copper machinery, gears and cogs, detailed leatherwork, and clothing from the Victorian Era and the Wild West and the intellectual mindset of the age. But most people that I talk to have never even heard of the term Steampunk before.

Wikipedia defines Steampunk as: a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery. Although its literary origins are sometimes associated with the cyberpunk genre, steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century’s British Victorian era or American “Wild West”, in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has maintained mainstream usage, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power. Therefore, steampunk may be described as neo-Victorian.

Now that might sound more complicated than it really is, but it has the nuts and bolts of it. But here is my take on the Steampunk genre.

I was introduced the Steampunk style by many of the famous Victorian Authors we still enjoy today, H.G. Wells, Mary Shelly, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Jules Verne. Wells and Verne are shining beacons of the Steampunk ideal. With novels like War of the Worlds, The Time Machine, and The Island of Doctor Moreau, H. G. Wells, tantalizes the readers with Victorian era science and rational. Jules Verne awes us with science and adventure in Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Around the World in 80 Days, and The Journey to the Center of the Earth. These amoung many other wonderful books can help you to understand the meaning of What is Steampunk.

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As a teen I enjoyed playing RPG’s (Role Playing Games) like Dungeons & Dragons, James Bond, and Ghostbusters. One of the games I was fascinated with was Space 1889. Set in the Victorian Era, the game was a blend of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars with Vernes’ Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. The main rule book is chock full of great pictures of flying aetherships and colonial regiments fighting aboriginal martians. The book has been on my shelf for nearly 30 Years.

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A slightly more modern example is The Wild, Wild, West TV Show from the 1960’s. It is one of my favorite shows from that time, and is full of Steampunk gadgetry and adventure. It may not be to everyones taste, but does give a good example of what many call Steampunk Technology (fantastical though it was).

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I know I have just barely scratched the surface of what Steampunk means, but the answer can be more complicated than you think. And yes, these are only a few of my thoughts, and everyone has their own ideas and interpretations about the subject as well. At least I have given you something to think about.

-Michael

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Elite Aetheric Wave Disruptor Rifle Mark I

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Well ladies and gentlemen I am pleased to announce that I have finished my work on the Elite Aetheric Wave Disruptor Rifle Mark – I, and will deliver it to the Placer County Fairgrounds tomorrow for participation in the 2017 Placer County Fair which runs from June 22 – 25.

With all the problems and roadblocks I ran into while doing this project, I’m surprised it turned out so awesome!

The rifle stock itself is a Remington 700 SPS Varmint that was graciously given to me for free from the nice people over at the Rocklin Armory when I told them about wanting to make a Steampunk Rifle.

The rifle electronics runs off of 4 “D-Cell” batteries in the main power box, this powers the green LEDs in the Aetheric Coil Tubes, and the vibration motor mounted along the barrel of the rifle.

For more info check out this page.

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Disappointment as a Catalyst for Inventiveness

This weekend I started to get things together so that I could make the stand for my Elite Aetheric Wave Disruptor Rifle Mark I. But the vision I had in my head far exceeded the allowable budget. I wanted use PVC piping to build it, but the parts envisioned only are available in metal, and at four times the cost.

After an hour and a half I left my “big box” hardware store disheartened, with my mind searching for alternate construction methods. But that is par for the course I’m afraid. This project has plagued me with nothing but obstacle after obstacle.

First of all I have a limited tool set. The only powered tools I have used on this project were a drill, a cordless Dremel, and a small hand sander. The rest of the tools, saws, Exacto Knives, etc, are all manual. I don’t have a garage or other work room, most of my crafting has been outside on the driveway or in my living room.

As per every step with this project I have had to change my idea of what and how I was going to build something. I wanted a brass nameplate on the stand for instance, but instead I have made a image transfer onto a wood plate that I made myself.

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Inventiveness is often forced upon us by limitations (usually by money or time), and often then result is better than your original idea, if not more unique and interesting one. Try to remember that the next time you are confounded by your “Big Box” Hardware store.

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Realism, Research, and Writing

Welcome to the Arcane Gearsmith!

This blog is about the creation of things, both of physical objects and of the written word. One often influences the other.

For example in one of my stories a lone survivor of a religious order crafts a magically infused Quaterstaff. I, as the author, crafted my own physical version of that Quarterstaff. I spent weeks designing, sanding, woodburning, polishing, and sealing my own Quaterstaff all to understand my character better. One of the results is that I was able to get deeper into characters thoughts. I could relate to the character as he burned the symbols into the wood because I had done it myself. 

Familiarity can bring realism to your written work, and believability to your characters and stories. Creating the Quarterstaff was a form of research. 

I also research areas of interest related to my writing as well, as do many authors. I have listened to hundreds of hours of college level lectures on subjects such as The Industrial Revolution, Victorian England, The Rise and Fall of the British Empire, Daily Life in Ancient Civilizations, and many other topics, all of which help me to ground my writing in Realism.

So long for now. Keep tinkering and writing.