Friday, January 28, 2022

Finally, some artwork! Uggghhh I'm still in "brain drain" mode you guys. But I did manage to put together some very rough concept sketches for one of the main characters of my next novel!

This is Wix, a fairy warrior who rides her corgi mount Kinnyfan into battle because in the mortal world, she's only about the height of a human hand. One blustery day, she shows up in Scarborough, England in a desperate attempt to stop the invasion of the mortal realm by the usurper fairy queen, who is trying to find the magical artifact that will allow fairies to regain their full size - and full magic power - in the mortal realm.

Wix finds some unlikely allies in a trio of siblings on holiday and a middle-aged fantasy author, and although she is deeply distrustful of humans, these quirky mortals may be Wix's only chance at finding the long-lost true fairy king and saving both their worlds.

When designing the fairies in this book, I wanted to focus on making them look distinctly non-human. They're not just people with wings, they're a totally different class of creature, and while some fairies approach looking human, others can look drastically different--the ones that are more monstrous or grotesque in form are called goblins. Wix is one of the more human-looking fair folk, but on the quest to find the fairy king, the protagonists will also run into some highly unusual fairies, including quite possibly the ugliest thing to ever exist.


Monday, January 17, 2022

I'm very pleased to announce that my revision of The Voyage of the Kaus Media is done! I actually ended up whacking off about 10,000 words, so I wanted to talk a little bit about what's changed this time around.

Most of my edits are strictly prose-related. The book came out in 2019, and it turns out I've actually improved as an author since then (go figure). I'm not trying to be OCD about revising my work, but when I re-read something and just start cringing, I know I need to take action. I want my books to be the absolute best they can be, and I would feel ashamed of offering something for sale that wasn't the highest quality I can manage.

One of the big things I did with this revision is to take out a lot of Angela's inner monologue. When I was revising the manuscript the first time around, I tried to be extra conscientious of making sure the reader constantly knew what Angela was thinking and feeling about everything. Turns out, not only is that not actually strictly necessary, but in reading the novel again, I felt that all of this discussing her thoughts and feelings was really bogging down the pacing for me. Plus, there were numerous times when it just became repetitive to the point of redundancy--do we really need to be reminded in every chapter that Angela misses her family, is grateful for her friends, etc.?

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I got rid of all the inner monologue. But there is definitely such a thing as too much of it. Angela is a complex character who undergoes a great deal of personal growth over the course of the plot, so there are definitely times when I needed to discuss what was going on in her head. But the rest of the time, I can let her dialogue and her actions do the talking for her, and trust that the reader can fill in the blanks. Plus, I think it helps that I made sure to really establish at the beginning of the book what kind of person she is and what her background is, so that her actions and reactions are not as enigmatic to the reader.

Another thing I did was carefully reexamine my use of dialogue tags, and remove them when necessary. It's my rule of thumb that if a paragraph starts talking about one character, and doesn't mention any other characters, I generally don't need a dialogue tag in that paragraph; it's understood that everything in the paragraph is pertaining to that character. So that probably got rid of about 7,000 words right there.

For the most part, the story is exactly the same; I did slightly alter some tidbits here and there, but it was mostly for increased plot clarity. The plot did get one major alteration (mild spoilers ahead): during the battle at Viper's Pass, in the previous version, Captain Saixaphas asked Angela to stay on the command bridge because her powers might be useful in the battle. In this new version, Saixaphas wants her to go back to her cabin, but Angela insists on staying in case she's needed. I really wanted to hammer home just how much she changed after her experiences in Elrath, how it became the turning point for her being more proactive and really believing she could make a difference.

I've handed the manuscript over to my editor, and hopefully very soon it'll be up on Amazon. I'm looking forward to bringing VotKM up to speed with my more recent work!

Also, now's about a good a time as any to mention that updates may be a little scarce for a while. I have a lot going on, and I'm just plain tuckered out from Blue Diver, so I think I need a vacation. I'm still hoping to get started on my next novel sometime this year, but for now I need some R&R. Catch you later!

NEXT-DAY EDIT: Okay, I added one more substantial change to the plot that I think a) really makes a lot of sense and b) gives the Ulo part of the plot some nice closure. I won't give away any spoilers, but if you're a fan of Ohmi, now she gets her due. :)

Friday, January 7, 2022

Here are the last of the old tablet sketches!

Skydwellers portraits! I'm really glad I made Miette a more sympathetic character in later revisions of that book; it sets her up a lot better to be the main character in the sequel.

Character design for Sidony, a light faerie who makes an appearance in one of my later Neopets fics. I definitely still want to put the rest up here on the blog, but I've been very busy with other things so it's slow going. I'll put one up very soon, though! It's a fun spaceventure with pre-Worth Fighting For Hyren. And space fungus.


Thursday, January 6, 2022

Time for more Throwback Thursday fun! Here are some sketches I drew in elementary school of Burgess Shale fauna! There's Opabinia, a trilobite, and a rather terrifying view of Anomalocaris. :)


Tuesday, January 4, 2022

More Kingdom Hearts Union χ player character designs! I decided to go in a decidedly non-human direction with some of them (thanks to wildly re-interpreting the reindeer suits).


Monday, January 3, 2022

2022 road map

When I say "road map", please picture a very vague child's doodle.

May 2022 bring you many moments of joy and reasons to be grateful.

I thought this might be an appropriate time to discuss my tentative plans for this coming year.
As you know, I'm fresh off of publishing Blue Diver, and I'm still taking a bit of a mental health break after that big project. 

However, at some point in the near future, I'm going to make minor, mostly technical, revisions to The Voyage of the Kaus Media. I recently revisited it and while I think the story is still good, my prose has gotten much better in the past three years, and I'd really like to bring VotKM up to speed with my current writing.

After that, at some point, I will begin work on my next novel, a modern fantasy set in England. And partly in the fairy realm. I'm excited about this one because one of the main characters is on the autism spectrum, and people with ASD need more literary heroes like them. Oh, and snails are important. 🙂

Finally, although I have no solid timeline for all of this, depending on my schedule, later this year I would really like to get started on the sequel to Thunder Girl. If you enjoyed the original, I think you're going to love this brand new steampunk fantasy adventure that features a mummy's curse, a questionably human airship captain, and Australia's native fossils. Should be lots of fun. 

I'd like to thank you readers for your support and appreciation of my work. It brings me the greatest joy to see people enjoy something I've created, and it always makes my day when I hear how one of my books helped you de-stress or provided memorable quality time reading with your family. I feel so blessed and grateful that God has given me the ability to contribute to making this world a happier and more beautiful place through my art, and I look forward to more of the same in the coming year.