Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Weather Casters

W.C.---The Weather Casters, supernatural beings from my novel "A Hole in the Ice," who control the weather, weaving it and casting it out over the world. They will appear more prominently in book two of the Weather Casters series, "A Hole in the Sea," which is planned to come out sometime this fall.
Here's a little logo I painted for them:

I think it would be cool as a frontispiece or something, but it's really not perfect enough. I might touch it up on the computer and see what it looks like then. I'm pretty clumsy, as you can see by te smudges on the lower left edge.
There are more creatures in book two, as well...stay tuned for more art, just as soon as I can figure out how to depict them.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Wascally Wabbit

 I wrote this weird little story when my sister, brother and I had an impromptu ten minute story writing contest. I only got nine paragraphs in ten minutes but we all finished our stories up afterwards.

  The wabbit watched the cave with wittle eyes. He had a matchstick in one hand and a ball of string in the other. When the sweet smells wafted out of the cave he hopped forward and hid by the door. He carefully arranged his string then struck his match on the iron door. Whoosh! Quickly, he snuffed it out and held the smoking stub against the crack of the door.
   “I smell smoke,” came a voice.
   “Smoke?” answered another.
   “Fire!” yelled a third.
   “Fire!” all three shrieked, and came tumbling out the door, tripping on the string. Wabbit leaped over the pile of wimmen and whipped inside, whamming the door closed and wocking it.
   Wes! He was inside!
   He began to help himself to the fresh pies. There’d be hell to pay, but that was better than twenty bucks apiece.
   Yes, he was a wascally wabbit.
   The wimmen started to bang on the door. Wabbit finished the last pie with lots of smacking and slurping. “Ahhh, wovely,” he said turning to face the door. How was he going to sugar coat this? He couldn’t go out the window, they’d catch him and flay him for sure. He scanned the kitchen. Hmm. He could do some cookin’ of his own.
   He hummed ‘Johanna’ from Sweeney Todd while he got some honey, milk, sugar, flour, molasses, and eggs mixin’ over the fire. The wimmen hammered on the door.
   “Let us in or we’ll flay you, you wicked wabbit!” they screamed.
   “Woo!” wabbit taunted. The door started to wobble as it was whacked. “Wu-oh,” said wabbit. He took his sauce from the stove as the door started to buckle.
   Splash-sploosh! He emptied his pot. The door busted in.
   Wabbit leaped back as the wimmen tumbled in on the floor, right into wabbit’s cooking.
   “Ha!” wabbit cackled. The wimmen struggled and strained to get up, but wabbit had really sugar coated it.
   “You wabbit!” the wimmen threatened. “We’s gonna wip you wimb from wimb!”
   “Plth!” wabbit said, opening the window. But wabbit had overestimated his cooking. One of the wimmen wipped herself off the floor and came at him yowling. She was so fast, he didn’t have a chance.
   The wimm wrapped her weally sticky arms around him and he woulda been stuck good.
   Fortunately her sudden yowling n’all had scared wabbit right out of his skin!
   “Weeow!” he said, leaping right out of his fuzzy wuzzy jammies and through the window. He set off running as fast as he could, which was pretty fast since he was buck naked. The wimmen were so sticky, they didn’t have a chance.
   Wabbit, he was a wabbit, he’d grow new skin, but he’d sure paid like hell. Now the wimmen would fight over who got a wabbit skin coat, which would last a couple days and cause lots of chaos.

So you could bet your wovely hide he’d be back outside the cave, watching with those wittle wabbit eyes.

Railing Against the Machine

   So I'm a steampunk writer. But there are things I don't like about the genre. Mainly it's because I'm super picky; I like my aesthetic just so and a lot of the time steampunk tends to go overboard in my opinion. I like the cogs and pipes etc, but often there's just too much and it gets a little cartoonish, which is fine sometimes, I just generally prefer a milder dose.
   One of the areas of steampunk imagery that gets to me is the depiction of women. It's sexual objectification, but that's not why it bothers me. It bothers me because it appears to be part of the hypersexualization of all things Victorian.
   Seriously, it's like everyone is out to get revenge on the Victorians for being tight laced. I have a book about the 1800s and the author is obviously biased against their philosophy, dropping disparaging comments about the 'dreary asexuality' of the Victorians (What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Poole). As if the rampant sexuality of our own age were an improvement.
   Modern art and fiction likes to yank out the sexual bits from the Victorian era and display them (yes, the corset is the coolest looking piece of underwear ever designed, it's still supposed to be underwear), thus you have your sex object steampunk girls and an emphasis on prostitution. And there's films like 2011's Hysteria. Look around and you'll see constant negative references to the Victorian's mode. Everyone jumps at the chance to attack them for it.
   People like to point out the hypocrisy. No one can point fingers at anyone and cry 'hypocrite!' without inadvertently placing a mirror between them and their target. We're all human after all (unless you're a steamborg or automaton).
   What are we trying to get revenge on them for? It's been a whole century. Just because we can't control our animal natures doesn't mean we have free license to ridicule a people who at least tried to.
   Their way of life is looked down on as something repressive, a code forced on the people by church and state. But there had to have been a universal societal shift for the change from earlier codes to have even taken place. Before we write it off as evangelical bamboozlement, check to make sure we're not being bamboozled into an animalistic state of degradation. We might end up as a whole pack of sex object monkeys.

DISCLAIMER: Me hypocrite ;) In my WIP regency zombie comedy I myself refer to prostitution several times.
APOLOGY: I'm not good at organizing my thoughts and sorry if this tirade sounds a little angry :)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A Sneak Peek At My Desk

   The Weather Casters, Book Two: A Hole in the Sea, sequel to A Hole in the Ice. We pick up where we left off, on the lonely ice-shelves of the arctic seas, where the melting ice traps Parsifal, Balder, and company. It isn’t long before the allure of the mermaids pulls them into the other-worldly Sea, another dimension of adventure, if you will…where they meet new characters and more deadly creatures.
   Dioktes is an old sailor who endlessly wanders the uncharted waves of the Sea. He rescues Parsifal and Balder but can they really trust him? Fou is a poor woman who lost her mind in the nightmares of the tossing waves, but she knows every path through the island of flotsam that makes up the pseudo-civilization known as the Port.
   Vassilissa enslaves a pirate captain and enlists the fallen Weather Casters, Davy and Wilma Jones, both of whom have been transformed into hideous monsters, to help her take over the Sea and destroy the Weather Casters.
   Trying to protect The Compass from all those who would misuse It, Parsifal starts to wonder if it means too much to him, perhaps more than his loyal friend Balder. He finds himself at a loss for what to do and where to turn. He must rely on himself, but can he trust himself?
   Coming Soon.
   The tentative date is sometime in October 2015

   As for the zombie fighting:
   I’m 20,000+ words into the first draft of a zombie comedy—a ZomCom—if you will. With a little romance.
   It’s about two cousins, Lyra, bent on world domination, and Alice, who would rather not be involved with anything, particularly marriage to an odious Earl of advanced age. There’s a spy and a necromantic artist as well. And a vegetative Duke. And zombies, of course.
    I had this idea about a girl and her father who has the ability to influence other people’s minds. The necromantic artist featured as well. It was kind of a steampunk Regency.
   I had also written a fragment about a Regency girl who stumbles across a young man and some secret passages in her house, neither of which were supposed to be there, but I didn’t know where to go with it. Then I got addicted to Plants vs. Zombies and I drew a little cartoon inspired by the cute zombies from that game.

   Except that he likes java, not brains. Anyway, Little Bird saw this cartoon and said something about hoping it meant I had an Edwardian zombie story cooking up. I thought, hey! And before long I had those two ideas cobbled together with zombies thrown in the mix to…um, stitch it together.
   Not sure how long this book will take to finish. I’m almost a third through the rough draft, but it’ll take a while to revise, I think. I hope this humor thing works out. The droll tone is hard to maintain sometimes, and I have to be careful not to overdo it. The fun thing is, it’s meant to be cliché. The zombies have a very limited vocabulary: uh, urr, mm, and braaaaains! are their main words.

Anyway, I’m excited about both projects, and I’ll probably have more. I’m considering writing a story about Sir Oaktree and his adventures in Africa, as well.
   And one of these days I'm going to try oil paints.
   So stay tuned! Thanks for dropping by and don't forget to check out the Little Bird Bookstore for all kinds of amazing reads!