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…

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…


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!



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.




Audible Musings

As many of you may know, I am a fairly heavy audio book listener. I can enjoy books as I stock shelves at “the world’s largest reseller”. My wife and I will often buy extra audio credits on top of my monthly alotment.

I am frequently asked what I am listening to. So for all you curious folks out there here is a list of novels I have listened to in the last few months: Legion, Mistborn, The Well of Ascension, The Hero of Ages, The Alloy of Law, The Way of Kings, Elantris, The Emperor’s Soul, Warbreaker, and A Memory of Light, all of which where written by the awesome Fantasy Author Brandon Sanderson.

I have begun listening to the Shannara Series by Terry Brooks. I have almost finished The Sword of Shannara for the second time, and have The Elfstones of Shannara, The Wishsong of Shannara, and The First King of Shannara in my listening cue.

My wife, daughter, and I have been listening to Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians and Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener’s Bones, both by Brandon Sanderson. My daughter follows along with the printed copy as we all laugh in the car while running around doing errands or shopping. Funny, funny stuff.

We have also been listening to The Story by Zondervan, a simplified telling of the Bible, that puts the events of the Bible in chronological order.

The Stormlight Archives Book One: The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, is one of best fantasy novels I have ever read. It is engrossing in a way few books are. In fact I have listened to this book several times, and at over 45 hours, and well over 900 pages, it still captivates me even for the sixth or seventh time. Unlike many novels, I feel engaged with the characters, especially Kaladin. I can understand him and his plight, and at many times I feel the same way.

The Mistborn Series, also by Sanderson, was amazing. I am astonished at the way he can make up believable magic systems. Every series is unique. The use of different metals as magic sources was fascinating. The original trilogy is superb, even making me say at the end of the second book, “He just pulled an Empire Strikes Back” which made me hurry to the third book for the continuation of the story. With that having been said however, The Alloy of Law, is by far my favorite of the series. The mixture of Wild West and 19th century society was a fast and furious ride when blended with magic.

I do keep putting off listening to The Third Reich at War, the third book in the fascinating trilogy by Richard J. Evans, about the German Third Reich. There is just so much information to absorb, and the content is just beyond words. War is brutal and bloody, not glorious. Everyone should listen (or read) some, if not all of these books.

Thanks for checking in to my little corner of the World Wide Web. More coming soon!

– Michael


Writing Excuses

One of the problems that aspiring writers have is that they have never taken a writing course. I sadly fall into that category. Many writers underestimate the usefulness of such education. Structure, plot, editing, rewriting, brainstorming, outlining, world-building, and character development, are just a few of the things a writer should understand.

Fantasy Author, and Creative Writing Teacher, Brandon Sanderson, has thankfully given us a solution to this lack of education: Writing Excuses. Writing Excuses is a podcast that focuses on various aspects of writing. With the help of Cartoonist Howard Taylor, Horror Novelist Dan Wells, and Novelist Mary Robinette Kowal, Brandon discusses topics that are relevant to creative writers everywhere. Often funny, these 15 minute podcasts, touch upon broad ranging topics related to writing.

I stumbled upon a link to the podcast on Brandon Sanderson’s Website, I had been listening to The Wheel of Time novels by Robert Jordan. I had only heard of these novels in passing and had not taken the time to listen to them until recently. I work as an overnight stocker for the world’s largest retailer and can listen to audiobooks as I work. The Wheel of Time series offered me literally weeks of epic fantasy listening. It was through this series that I had discovered Brandon Sanderson.

Robert Jordan died in 2007 before completing The Wheel of Time, and the publisher hand selected Brandon to finish the series. The final volume of The Wheel of Time, called A Memory of Light, Will be released on January 8th, 2013. (I already have the audiobook preordered at

Brandon has also written the Mistborn series and The Stormlight Archive, The Way of Kings, which is one of the best fantasy novels I have ever read.

Writing Excuses has a lot to offer writers. It has taught me to be more focused, more thoughtful, and more willing to make mistakes with my writing. Often I have found that I want a polished manuscript the first time, and keep rewriting a scene to make it perfect, at the expense of writing the rest of the story. Everyone will find strengths and weaknesses in their writing, but the writing process will help you perfect your craft. Give Writing Excuses a try, and who knows, maybe you’ll learn something you needed to hear. All right you are out of excuses, now go write…