Faith on Silver Wings Cover – wip

I’ve got the cover image for Faith on Silver Wings done. Or fairly close to it except for some minor work. I cheated a bit and used that pic of Enkiria I’d already done and a few other things I’d already done in my other version of the book cover that I decided I didn’t quite like.

I will be editing this cover further, of course, getting it perfect and all, but here it is for now.

Power Playing

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in fiction and sci-fi lately. The new authors, that is, the old ones are doing fine, so far as I’ve seen. However, the old Greats are dying off and these new people are filing in. The disturbing trend happens to be the “Let anything and everything happen as it will.”

By this, I’m meaning the Mary Sue characters and lack of clear-cut definitions of what things can and cannot do within a book’s universe.

The Late Greats that I grew up reading had defined edges of what their magic or tech could and could not do. The ability to raise the dead wasn’t something that just anyone could do, and it had limitations. You simply couldn’t just go “HEAL!” and BAM, your corpse is totally un-ghastly and has the soul and mind of the original person reinstated, the heart’s pumping and all the pipes work, just like they’re alive again, except technically they’re a zombie. In the past, there were rules. You had to make preparations. You had to have enough power. Your corpse didn’t automatically regenerate back to a state before dying. Your zombie didn’t have the original’s soul. The zombie could only be used for certain tasks.

Take the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. The zombies had limits. They had drawbacks. All three movies stayed true to those Zombie Rules and didn’t retcon (retroactive continuity) anything major.

Zombies just happens to be an example here, but I’ve noticed books lately that have not had Rules for anything put in place or stuck with. I’m given to understand that the last few Harry Potter books, especially the 7th, had a problem with retconning things. The magic worked however Rowling said it worked THIS time when LAST time it did something different. I’m not picking on Rowling, just the HP books are a widely known example is all. Meyer is also guilty of retconning important plot things because it pleases her to do so. And I could name a few others I know about who fall into the trap of just giving a character a power because they felt like it, or it was required at the time, regardless of whether the character has ENOUGH power already.

I suppose in Playing the Hero, I skirt close to that with Vathion. However, I counteract that with his insecurity and the fact that he messes up big-time several times in PTH and SERIOUSLY screws the pooch in Symbol of Hope. He is, after all, 16, more than a little whiny, and very reactionary.

My biggest danger of Gary Stu-ism is Kedetireen. However, I hope that society’s constraints on him will be enough to limit his OMG-SUPERPOWAH-ness. And I plan to have his powers work within a certain set of rules. Admittedly, I haven’t defined those rules yet and I need to before I get any further in Faith on Silver Wings. But, so far, I don’t think he’s crossed the line.

I suppose my point in all this rambling is that lately, the books I’ve been reading have been mildly Mary Sue-style and it worries me. I guess power-fantasies have their place, but there’s an abundance of them right now and I hope that this isn’t a trend that will last long. I like having a book universe work in a predictable way. Or, if not exactly predictable, at least logical. Randomly saying in book 3 that, oh, btw, I can change my appearance without illusions, to the point of giving myself a 30ft wingspan, and I’ve got rapid healing that was never mentioned before and healing was explained previously as a fairly intensive process that uses spells. But that’s ok. My rapid healing uses pure WILLPOWAH!

**

In other news, I’ve started working at yet ANOTHER project. This one, however, will be posted on my website as a webnovel. It’s called Ghost Talent. I’d decided to write GT because …I miss writing epic episodic stories. I spent several years writing a fanfic that was posted online and really enjoyed the feeling of power weaving and interweaving the strands of plot together. I finally ended that story at 400,000+ words. I felt so … very empty after completing that story. It makes me sad that if I even tried to remove the copyrighted material, I’d destroy the story. Ohwell. it was good practice! And a fun ride. so! I’ll move on to working at making original epic episodic stories. I’ve got what I think is the first chapter of GT written, it just needs some clean-up before I post it online. I also need to figure out what I’m going to do in chapter 2. I’ve got a lot of scenes written, but they’re actually chronologically before the first chapter… But I wanted to start GT off with a bang instead of easing into it.

I really reeaally need to pick an update schedule for my website, and this. I’ve been sporatic about updating the website. Usually about once every 2 weeks. I think if I had a job it would be easier.

Unfortunately, that’s getting into Personal Stuff and if I got into that topic on here, I’d start whining. Not a good thing to do on my 4th post!

Way of the Shadows

I finally finished the Shadow’s series by Brent Weeks.

The first book (Way of the Shadows) was a fun ride. I really enjoyed it. Stayed up til 6AM reading it. My only problem was the introduction of some minor characters that really weren’t as minor as they seemed and really weren’t explained. They just …showed up, did some stuff, and ran off. It was mildly confusing. Overall, though, the book was fantastic and I greatly enjoyed it. It didn’t go how I had expected – though the plot twist at the end was a bit out of the blue. There wasn’t much leadup to it. Additionally, Kylar, for all that he grew up on the streets is remarkably… feminine. Maybe it’s Jarl’s fault? I dunno. Also, though it’s questioned, no one explains why Kylar’s original name was Azoth, though it’s hinted that he’s something more – maybe his parents were important, but it’s never explained and that’s something I’m really curious about.

Second book (Shadow’s Edge) was also fun. I stayed up til 6AM reading that one as well. Weeks got a bit worse about the random minor characters having conversations that I suppose were important but for the life of me, I couldn’t understand. And I really… REALLY don’t like Vi. Her actions, while … necessary, were also very terrible. You don’t starve and beat an 11yr old and then essentially _rape_ someone, forcing them to drop whatever else they were trying to do with their lives and attend to your every whim even though it was for a good cause (sort of) and expect readers to totally forgive them. Which leads to my complaint about book 3.

Weeks then spent the entire third book (Beyond the Shadows) trying to replace Elene with Vi. Forcibly. I didn’t like that. It ticked me off. Every chapter Vi was in, Weeks bashed me over the head with how terrible Vi’s life had been and how she was an emotional cripple… But I saw what he was trying to do and what Vi did at the end of book 2 just ticked me off so much that I simply Could Not like her. The best he was going to get from me was apathy, which he really didn’t succeed in getting. Then the rest of the characters decided to throw a party and serve Stupid Juice by the keg. Not only were they talking about things that weren’t explained very well, they were… mildly out of character. Really the only one who stayed true was Logan. The abundance of C-countrynames was confusing and half the characters I can’t pronounce their names, and thus couldn’t remember that I had seen them before. At least the introduction of random side characters used only once and for no purpose whatsoever stopped. Except for the Final Boss, which came totally out of nowhere. Well… They fought Khali, but Khali’s real identity wasn’t what was expected and there was nothing leading up to what occured. Weeks also seems to like putting pregnant women in life-threatening situations … and even killing them occasionally.

Now, don’t get me wrong! I like the fact that someone’s willing to be that cruel to their characters and that Murphy’s Law is God of his realm, additionally, the world itself was deep and interesting. But. I just feel that Weeks could have gone through the whole storyline one last time and removed the extras. About 10 characters could have been removed and another already established character used instead.  Book 3, overall, felt like Weeks said “oookay! I’ve got a contract for 3 books, and the deadline’s coming up. I’d better kick something out quick!”

Additonally, Durzo Blint got perilously close to being a Gary Stu. That makes me sad. In my fanfiction, I’ve practiced making people hate characters, and redeeming them in a believable manner, but I just don’t think Weeks carried this one off very well. I just don’t think someone who’s spent most of their life protecting and courting one woman would easily go “oh, well, I’m COMPELLED to love this other chick whom I don’t know and who stole my wedding rings and forced this spell on me to make me love her and now I can’t even kiss my true beloved because it makes me sick, so I guess I’ll forget Elene and go with Vi.” It just doesn’t work like that.

I guess I’ll have to say it again after all this complaining – I DID like the books. They were a fun ride. I liked the main characters intoduced in the first book (Kylar, Durzo, Momma K, Jarl, and Logan, to be specific), but there was a lot of clutter (characters, conversations, relationships, unexplained things).

Faith on Silver Wings Cover

I’ve been working on a cover design for Faith on Silver Wings…
I’ve got something but I’m still not sure I’m happy with it. It’s got a big bird on it and I’m not sure if the bird really fits… It’s pretty, I guess… I’ll finish this piece anyway, as it might be fine as just random artwork for the series.

Haven’t done any writing lately, but I’ve been reading.
The Shadow’s series by Brent Weeks is pretty darn good. Lots of stuff Just Goes Wrong and it’s delightful! The sadistic author side of me is overjoyed that someone else likes tormenting their characters as much as I do! I’ll probably write a review of the series when I finish the third book.

Serving Wilsaers

 

His first day at his new job had gone well. Or well enough. He hadn’t had any major incidents – such as dropping people’s orders or forgetting anything important. He’d managed to keep everyone’s drinks filled and spoke to the customers in their own language. Then again, he hadn’t had more than a Carken, two Wolfadon and six Gilon sit down at the tables he had been assigned. The diner wasn’t that large, consisting of perhaps thirty tables. Besides Vathion, there was Cale, and six others who worked as servers in the restaurant. Cale was a slightly pudgy young man who was working at the café to save money in order to get off world. He really wanted to go to Heartland for college. He had hopes of becoming a restaurant owner someday, or a chef. He loved food, and it was obvious.

While Vathion’s first day had been fairly easy, Vathion could tell by the look on Cale’s face that today was going to be a trial. Turning, he looked towards the door and immediately spotted the group of six crawling across the ceiling. They were roughly gilonoid with tails whipping along behind them. Wilsaer…

Vathion had heard of Wilsaers before. He had seen them on the Vid. They always said silly things like “Hi mom!” to the cameras whenever they could sneak into view. You had to be deaf and blind to not notice them. The Wilsaer that appeared to be their leader would have been fairly tall if he were standing on the floor. He had long neon green hair, neon yellow skin, and bright red eyes that glanced around the room, searching for a waiter. His eyes fell on Vathion and Cale and a wide grin spread across his face.

“They’re going for your table,” Cale said with obvious relief. “Your customers!” Cale dashed for the kitchen. Vathion turned slightly, hand raised to call Cale back, but the kitchen door closed before he could even draw a breath, and shortly after, Vathion distinctly heard the back door shut as well. Cale had gone to hide in the pantry. Continue reading “Serving Wilsaers”

Afternoon Conversations

Afternoon Conversations

“I don’t get it, Vath,” Mirith said as she played with a blade of grass, sitting on the curb as he scrubbed at a bug stain on the front bumper of his mother’s car… which he still hadn’t gotten to learn how to drive.

“Get what?” Vathion asked, half soaked, but thankfully it was a warm enough day that it didn’t matter. Jathas was on the hood of the car, scrubbing as well.

Mirith shifted, leaning back and linking her hands around her knees as she looked up at the sky briefly. “You know everything there is to know about the Natan Fleet ships, but you hate the show.”

Vathion paused, looking back at her. “I don’t hate the show…”

“Yes you do.” She looked at him with her head slightly cocked. She had just gotten her hair cut and it was curling around her shoulders now. For the longest, she’d had it down to her shoulder blades. His hair was nearly down to his mid-back, but he knew that would be changing soon. Lisha had demanded that he get his hair cut like Natan’s for that stupid play. He had decided he wasn’t going to do it ‘til maybe the day of. “You complain constantly about how this or that is inaccurate. You mutter about how ‘Natan would never say that’ or complain about how women throw themselves at him on the show.” Continue reading “Afternoon Conversations”

Battle Fleet Simulation: Loss of Kimidas

Taking a breath, Vathion chewed his lower lip as he settled into his seat on the bed. He adjusted his headset. Eyes narrowing, he viewed the readouts on the datapad at his right hand. Around him, the virtual room was quiet. The small sounds of buttons being pushed and keys typed and screens peeping status reports came through his earphones. It was a busy quiet on his bridge, and Vathion rather liked it. It meant things were boring, and in his opinion, boring was good. Especially in a war, and especially in a war that had been going on for as long as this one had. Vathion’s own father had been but a boy when the war had started, and now, it was a question as to whether the Rebel Gelran would be defeated or die of old age first. Honestly, most Gilon were hoping for the latter. It would be a tidy ending to the whole problem and no one would be charged with killing the uncle of Emperor Daharn.

“At this point,” Jathas spoke up from where he sat tucked beside Vathion, “Would anyone care if someone accidentally stabbed that dishonorable scent-deaf jerk?”

Violet brows furrowing, Vathion shot a look at his Bond, “Behave, Jathas! Such blasphemous thoughts. He should be hung for a traitor. That way no one gets splattered with his blood. Ancestors only knows whether that kind of insanity and depravity is contagious!”

“That’s why we should hire that famous assassin, Red Dagger, to do it,” Jathas cheerfully joked, and if Vathion was not used to his Bond’s sick sense of humor, he would have worried about the Hyphokos’s sanity. As it was, he was still a little disturbed and gave Jathas, a slightly undersized yellow Hyphokos a long look. Turning fully to look up at him, Jathas clutched Vathion’s shirt “I’m sorry, that was going a bit too far, but you have to admit that this war is a little stupid. Gelran was disowned rightfully and Armalan took his place rightfully, which means that Daharn is now Emperor, rightfully.”

Continue reading “Battle Fleet Simulation: Loss of Kimidas”

Dinner with Wilsaers

This was originally the last chapter in Playing the Hero. However, I decided to cut this scene for the sake of trimming out unneeded parts. Thus, this scene DID happen, however it is now an extra found only on the site.

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Playing the Hero: Dinner with the Farem

Vathion was grinning by the time they reached their destination, which was deep within the rambling tunnels and halls of the Hub Core. They had passed hundreds of Wilsaer along the way, and he had awed them all with his graceful bounding from one wall to the other, somersaulting and kicking off walls and down into tubes after his guide, who had taken one glimpse back and had gotten the idea that he could speed up their trek.

As soon as Vathion had left his honor guard at the door, they began whispering to each other and withdrew from view. The room was a large spherical chamber with a circle of chairs on the far wall in which there were already a pair of Wilsaer. In the center of the room floated a lighting device, casting strange shadows on the walls. Otherwise, the room had smooth walls painted white to keep the area from being a cave.

Koska’s brows raised as she looked up to see them, and she stood politely. Her father, Dagamaee, did not have to stand, but he did look up. “You’re early,” he stated in Wilsaer.

Flashing a grin, Vathion sprung across the room and twisted to stick his toes to the wall and straightened, facing Dagamaee and Koska, “And I brought desert offerings,” he replied in the same language.

A Wilsaer sprung across the room from another doorway and Vathion handed over the pack to that one without looking at the man. “For how many?” Dagamaee asked, smirking.

Continue reading “Dinner with Wilsaers”

Product of Fiction

I’m going to try to make up some philosophical explanation for why we are here, who we are, and where we’re going.

NOTE: This is not the Truth, not even a fraction of the Truth, and nothing LIKE the Truth.

Also, I freely admit that I do not have very much background in philosophy but, it is possible to go about making a theory without much background in philosophy or religion – as demonstrated by Pierce.

So here is my first bit of evidence:
Dark Matter

So we are all agreed on the basis of science that the universe is expanding. It has also been determined that the universe has no ending. Thus is this a strange oxymoron we have arrived at; how can something that has no end, continue to expand? In fact, how can it expand at a faster rate?

My theory is that we are in fact creations of a Mind.

You might think that has nothing to do with the universe and its expansion, but allow me to explain and perhaps I will convince you.
Being that I am agnostic, I cannot definitively say that this Mind is God, or a pantheon of gods. In this case, “god” is taken to mean a being that is omnipotent and omniscient. However, I can say that even if this Mind does happen to be a god of some sort, I doubt it is the god that we have created in any of the religions of our world. This point, however, will be discussed shortly, as it is part of my argument

This Mind, however, I will refer to as The Author from here on out.

I will thus, over the course of several posts, try to create a philosophy/religion or something.
Reality and You

Descartes posited that the senses could not be trusted, and so we have to have universal doubt about all things we encounter.

He, however, is wrong. Reality is, as found in everyday life, all the things we perceive with our senses. This point is discussed by Pierce and the Pragmatist movement of philosophy. Descartes’ reasoning for Universal Doubt was due to the fact that the senses can trick you. Admittedly there are numerous documented occasions of hallucinations – visions of islands that are merely reflections of heat on a flat surface, or drug-induced visions of babies on the ceiling (just to be extreme, but my point should be obvious). Pierce’s commentary on the subject was that because our abstractions are created out of everyday experience, we cannot wholly discount everyday experience. To jump from what we experience to saying that only abstractions and Perfect Forms of ideas are the true reality is total horseradish. However there is documented evidence that a scent can evoke memories; memories are never remembered correctly. You can ask several different people who witnessed the same event, and none will tell you the exact same story.

In fact, if they are allowed to speak to each other after the event, they will create a different version of the event that is wholly different than what any of the people would have said individually. This is due to the fact that we are autonomous individuals, capable of seeing things differently from someone else. Perception, in the end, is what lies, rather than the senses. Since Perception is what causes us to question whether something is real or not, we can safely say that our perception of the world is probably wrong; even our collective perception of the world, including what we know of science.

Now that I have talked myself into a corner, I will now show you the backdoor out. To rescue science from a circular argument that defeats itself, allow me to suggest that perhaps our reality is what it is because we have been given a set of rules in which our universe works. These rules are something like the Clock Maker God theories of the Renaissance. These are also the Laws which have been discovered by great minds like Einstein and Newton. This is also a ploy used by writers when creating universes and worlds that are both like and unlike our own. Readers are not likely to read, or take seriously, a story that does not obey a set of logical rules that are applied to the world the story is set on. For example, a world in which the main character can do anything is a boring world – unless the villain is just as powerful as the main character, in which case that sets limits on what the main character can do. A system of science that does not function in a way that is understandable fails to catch the reader’s attention. The same goes for any system of magic that is chaotic and frequently contradicts itself. That is not to say that the rules have to be boring – there are worlds created with very strange sets of rules, such as Diskworld, and the universe of The Hitchhiker’s Guide. Our universe, too, has rules, and while we may not fully understand them, we at least know those rules exist and function in a way that prevents us from flying off into space if we jump into the air.

However, as I pointed out before with the comment on the universe and its rate of expansion, there are plot holes. The only way to allow for both the endlessness and expansion to occur in the same “object” (I scare quote this because space is a void – another point I will get to later) is that the Author is still creating our universe even as we breathe. So, we can at least take reality with a grain of salt, knowing that the Reality we exist in may not be the only one there is. Other worlds may function with a different set of rules which only apply to that world.

In a way, then, Reality is the rules which govern this world, what you choose to believe is there, and what the Author has placed in this world as plot devices. We can then break Reality into three categories: that which we know, that which we do not know because it is not yet created, and that which we do not know because we have not discovered it yet. Admittedly, the last two would be impossible to determine, due to the fact that they are things we cannot know without changing them and forcing them to be categorized as something we know.