Welcome back to Arcane Gearsmith! I am so excited to tell you that my other project, Amazing Microfiction, has now launched an updated web presence at AmazingMicrofiction.com and is now Live! I can now provide you with a better user experience, but please bare with me as I update, refine, and mess around with the site and change servers. Thank you for tuning in!
For 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Greetings Everyone! Thanks for taking the time and checking out my blog.
I won First Place, Best of Division, and Best of Show for the “Elite Aetheric Wave Disruptor Rifle Mark -I“. I am so stoked! Go to the fair and check it out for yourself. The 2017 Placer County Fair runs from June 22-25.
You can also click the link above to see how I made it.