Friday, 4 January 2013

Like-minded people.

So this:

This guy says a lot of things that I felt myself and which I still struggle with. There is no doubt that once my grandmother on my father's side passes away I will never hear from that side of the family again. There is a very good reason for this. I come from a family of mostly hard-working bankers, accountants or builders so I can totally relate to this. It was pretty much expected of me that I would do something with accounting like everyone else and my dad forbade me to ever make a career out of being creative. So i said fuck em. I am the only one in my family to gain a degree and I worked my butt of to get it and although it is an arts degree and I will never gain a “real job” in their eyes it made me happy. Now I have a job which offers me plenty of time to be creative, to write, to sing, to be joyous in my life and enough money to make do (not planning on being wealthy or even well-off like the rest of my family). I say we get rid of the guilt for allowing ourselves to be happy instead of pleasing everyone else.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

2013 update

So 2013 already ...  Wow that went fast. After reading through all the many many posts with new years resolutions posted on facebook, on blogs and many other places I have decided to make one myself. 
In 2013 I will ...
Be myself! 
I said it. 
I feel no need to change anything in my life and I am not going to lie to myself and make all kinds of promises that I wont keep anyway. 
2012 for me was another up and down year; 
- Got a job! Yes that happened and is still happening. I am very grateful that someone chose to give me the chance and now I can only strive to not let them down. 
- Lost 9,5 kgs (gained a little of it back during december)
- Husband finally managed to get a residency.   

So 2013 I am ready for you. I signed up for milwordy (Yikes one million in a year!)
So far my plans for 2013 looks something like this: 
- Finish up The day they descended; book 1 of my sci-fi series. 
- Write the 2nd and 3rd of the series.
- Write a steampunk/urban fantasy with a base in egyptian mythology
- Finish my NaNo 2012 romance novel.
- Write "The Twins saga" (working title)
- Finish my YA novel (translating from danish and then finishing) 
- Write book 2 and 3 in the YA novel series. 
- Write "The awakening of a new race" (working title)

A bit of work ahead of me, but hopefully that will end up at 1 mill at the end of it.
Now I am looking for title suggestions. So far the story goes something like this; In a Steampunk inspired world shared by humans and elves, steam-taxi operator Alex Bean (name is a part of a dare) unwillingly gets involved in the dealings of the high council of elves when a young elven woman dies of mysterious reasons on a taxi ride. The young woman was part of a dig in Egypt lead by the human scientist Doctor Nicholas Lovett Fysh, studying the common link between elven and human culture. Soon Alex is wrapped up in elven politics at the same time as having to solve the mystery of a sickness that only seems to affect elves. She is forced to collaborate with the posh Lord Odyhum, sister of the victim, and the ghost of Sam Eliott, another and seemingly unrelated victim of the dig. 

Throw me a line so I know your thoughts. Peace out Comrades. 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

An interview with an emotional vampire.

As promised I will give you the interview that I made with my new character quite a few years after the 1st book of the series ends. He is a bit of an unforgiving bastard. Also included is my terrible first sketch attempt to draw him. You will notice that his nose looks different which is on purpose and will be explained further in the book. The drawing of him is meant to resemble what he looks like when our heroes pick him up in 1920s  Boston. And yes I am well aware that I should not quit my dayjob in pursuit of drawing ;)

So Julian. You have come here today to tell us a little about yourself.

I suppose a little will have to do unless you have the time to dedicate quite a while to the cause but yes I have agreed to shed some light on myself.

First things first. Of the little information we have about the EV3 project it seems immensely complicated. You are very young to be leading a space-program of this magnitude. How does it make you feel to know that most of personal are twice your age and could never hope to have reached the position that you find yourself in right now.

I suppose that my human reaction would be to say that I am incredible proud of myself although I am probably older than what your mind can conceive from just looking at me. I am a product of a larger program initiated many centuries ago after all and although my bodily exterior might be that of a young man I can probably put your mind to ease a slight by telling you that I am the most competent man for the job.

I know from earlier interviews that you grew up with a human family. How has this affected your upbringing do you think?

I am very happy to be blessed with the foster parents that chose me. I feel extremely privileged to have experienced a normal upbringing that many of my kind are denied.

You are of course referencing the facilities where many of your race are fostered without ever knowing the outside world.

Yes. I am not here today to discuss the reasoning behind these facilities only to recognise that I am grateful for the chance given to me for a normal life.

Can you once and for all confirm that you were an inhabitant of planet earth before its destruction?

It is true that I grew up on planet earth as a part of a classified project yes, but I can assure you that I had long since been removed by the time the earth died out and was never in any immediate danger.  Before you ask the question that I know many of the people here on EV2 are dying to ask. Planet Earth was neither as wonderful as the legends want us to believe. Humankind was corrupted and living in filth. They treated those who could not fend for themselves little better than animals with beatings, poisoning and weird medical treatments which either made their own kind mad or killed them. I am happy that the human race has been given another chance although I wish that the choice had been offered to them when time came.

I thought we were not going to discuss politics.

Indeed. Excuse that interlude it is something that is very near to my heart as an adopted child of other surviving members of the original inhabitants of earth.

Tell me and the readers more about earth that was then.

Ah see I don’t understand this odd fascination of the past but very well I shall indulge you. The town I grew up in had very tall buildings and many humans living close together. I was placed at an institution as a small boy because of my looks which they dubbed eerie and because I refused to talk to them. They probably thought I was mad but then again how could they know that I was suffering from separation from my home planet? When I grew older and started remembering the place I had left behind I took up drawing. They brought me to live in the city and to be shown off as a freak. They thought I could communicate with the dead and that I was a medium, but when they found out that I never conveyed any messages but only drew all day they put me back in the institution only to be taken out at special occasions. It was at one of these outings that I was picked up by an expedition sent from the future to save me and bring me here.

Colonel Aldrich’s expedition as far as I recall reading?

Indeed. Although back then he was not yet colonel.

And you remain close to him?

I was brought up by his oldest daughter and son in law. They already had responsibility for the colonel’s daughter and son, so another child was hardly any big difference.

The colonel is very private about his family life and rarely ever speaks of his children. Are they not close?

I would prefer not to comment on that. This interview is about me and my work so far as I recall. All you need to know is that his children are all well. His youngest daughter is showing great potential and will if the universe is willing follow in her father’s footsteps someday.

I can understand that you yourself have tutored her?

I can’t deny that. We are very close and always have been. My biggest hope is that we can work together on future projects.

Can you explain this big project a bit further?

To put it in simple words that your readers might understand. We are in the process of either finding another suitable planet or creating one from scratch that will hold a substantial amount of people which, if calculations are correct, is exactly how many too much we will be on this planet with more expeditions incoming every day and human beings in general reproducing far faster than this planets resources will be able to sustain.

And when will this planet be ready for habitation?

Well first of all nothing is certain in these cases. But within a generation of human-beings we should be able to send the first colonists.

So not in our lifetime?
Well not in your lifetime at least. But then you get the satisfaction of marvelling at the brilliant future that is offered to your children and grandchildren.  And should you live long enough to experience this miracle of the universe it is very doubtful that you would be sent there in any case. I don’t mean to be callous but at that point the crucial task will be to put together a couple hundred fit human-beings with the knowledge needed to survive on a somewhat barren planet.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Research day

I don't know about you guys but I really love fall if nothing because it gives me time to snuggle up with a blanket and drink tea (and eat cake if I was allowed to do so. Soooooon the diet will be over) and research. No matter where I am in my life when this time of the year comes around I am always in the middle of a project, planning a project or more than often both. Right now I am keeping myself busy until the 24th of september where my fate my very well be decided. For those who don't know what I am talking about I can fill you in with two simple words; horrible jobmarked! I applied for a job, got an interview the day after sending my application but they are sadly bound by some law to let it go the full submission period before they make their decision known. It sucks for me, it sucks for them and it probably sucks for the unemployment people who get to listen to me moan about it tomorrow.
What am I keeping myself busy with you ask? Well I will tell you my lovely readers. I have been researching!  All of sudden someone on one of the forums I frequent put up an article that explained that Harper Voyager are looking for new unsolicited authors within a short timeframe between 1st-14 oct. So I thought I would dust off the old goodie project and get to writing. Oh how wrong I was. When it came down to it the most likely reason for my putting the manuscript away in the first place was that it was someone lacking in content. It lived up to the 50k word count that was required of NaNo but content wise it needed a major overhaul. After culling it with a giant axe I was down to 46k which has now crept back up to 49k after this last week. It is not quite enough writing to get me done in time for my personal deadline but most of my time has been put into researching a new character that I came up with very last moment but will fit perfectly into the story. When I am done researching insane asylums and spiritualism I might sit down and drawn him for you as he came to me in my dreams; A little wide-eyed boy who possesses the key to unlock a great secret of the universe but who is sadly stuck in a world that does not understand his abilities at all and thinks he is a nutcase.
I leave you with something to do for me. I posted a very puzzling question on facebook the other day that at least some people went to the effort to answer in very creative ways:

If you were stuck in a pocket in time and space. How would that room/place look? Would it be one color, full of memories floating about, maybe feel like some amazing kind of Alice in Wonderland hole in the ground where you kept falling? Lend me your ideas and you might just get included in my WIP. 

Thursday, 6 September 2012

A short story about creation.

My good friend Oreon is selling all things Oreon from her facebook page; 

To promote it further she asked people to write a small story about this guy:

Here is my suggestion for a story written in quick style (as in 10-15 writing, no editing). This is just a bit of fun to motivate me to write and give some free promotion to her so go have a look at her awesome stuff! 

The story of Levi Van Damme. 
Once it had entered his mind he couldn’t shake the feeling that somehow writing about Levi Van Damme was his life mission. He had been at a hotel enjoying the comforting feeling of a tightly secured cover hugging his body all over when the idea had struck him as lightning from a blue sky. What happened to the characters he came up with for his stories when he discarded them? As he drifted uneasily in and out of sleep he imagined a special city where all unused characters lived. The city was divided into two parts, one white part where all the good characters lived and one black part where all the bad characters lived. He also imagined that in this city there was a grey zone in the middle where all the characters that were neither good nor bad had their quarters. And in this grey zone lived a doctor named Levi Van Damme who took the discarded limbs of horror story protagonists and created his own unique beings that he sent out to haunt the good people living in the white part of the city. He imagined that Van Damme sent these beings into the nightmares of the authors who had willingly cut the limbs off their subjects and that, in turn, would mean that they would be reinvented and put into a story, in part restoring them to their former selves in new wrapping.
As the cool moonlight hit his face he sat up covered in cold sweat realizing just like Doctor Frankenstein had once done, that he himself, in his pursuit of imagination, had created this horrible monster called Levi Van Damme and by just producing these thoughts he would have to write a story about an insane doctor with a big heart who tried to give severed limbs another chance at life. He dreamed that the doctor would one day be visited by a grey woman who wanted to be created and that he would fall in love with her and therefore she would be written into his story as well creating herself. He dreamt that they came to a big void at the edge of imagination and that they stood there screaming for his attention and threatening to jump and be forever deleted from his thoughts. And thus as he woke up the following morning he knew he would write their story and save these characters from the oblivion that all the others had disappeared into.       

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Character creation 101.

On a recent trip to England I somehow ended up buying yet another of those smart self-help books for wannabe authors that seem to be floating around our circles. I wasn't really convinced that I needed another of those books but I bought it anyway after flipping through it. I won't go so far as to state that it is the best book on writing I have read, but it is certainly not the worst and at this point I need to write to live pretty much and felt I could well do with some more advice. The book is called; Your Writing Coach and is by Jurgen Wolff.
I must admit that now I am half-way through it the book has turned out to be an interesting read. Especially his notion that new writers would do well with following a simple lay-out for character creation as the one laid out by Lajos Egri in his book The Art of Dramatic Writing struck a cord with me. It sent me back to the drawing board and forced me to reevaluate some of the characters I have been plotting for my newest work in progress. If anything it made me realize that even characters in a romance/fantasy novel need to be fleshed out. As Wolff states it is crucial for the reader's experience with your book that your characters are believable and in order for them to be believable you need to know everything there is to know about them, but reveal only 2/3 of it to still keep some suspense. What follows is my retyping of Egri's scheme for character creation that I at least will be using this time around even if it is fairly time consuming. (I apologize for the color coding system, it is merely a tool I use when writing in scrivener)

1. Age:
2. Appearance:
3. How does the character feel about their appearance:
4. Describe the character’s childhood in terms of:
A: relationship to parents.
B: Relationship to siblings if any:
C: Relationship to other key people from his or her youth:
D: Lifestyle while growing up:
E: Education:
F: Childhood activities: (hobbies, interests)
G: Locations where he or she grew up:
5: Describe the character’s education during and after the teen years.
6: Describe the character’s current relationships with:
A: Parents:
B: Sibling:
C: Other key people from his or her youth:
7: Describe the character’s romantic life and any relevant background:
8: Describe the character’s sex life and moral beliefs:
9: Does the character have any children? If so describe his or her relationship with them. If not, how does he or she feel about children?
10: What is the character’s religious background? Current beliefs?
11: What is the character’s occupation:
12: Describe the character’s relationship to his/her boss and co-workers:
13: How does the character feel about his/her job?
14: What are the character’s current hobbies or non-work activities?
15: Describe the character’s philosophy of life:
16: Describe the character’s political point of view:
17: Sum up the main aspects of your character’s personality:
18: What is the character proud of?
19: What is the character ashamed of?
20: What is his or her state of health?
21: How intelligent is he or she?
22: Summerize the character’s relationship to other major characters in your story:
23: What is the character’s goal in the story?
24: Why does he she want to achieve this goal?
25: Who or what stands in way of the character? Why?
26: What strengths or qualities will help this character achieve the goal?
27: What weaknesses will hinder the character from achieving the goal?
28: How articulate is the character?
29: Are you planning on killing this character off?
30: Will this character be in the sequal?

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The New Death and Others by James Hutchings.

So very caught-up at the moment by preparations for LARP, pagan summercamp and going to England! Even in the midst of all the chaos I have still found some time to read and follow up on a very old promise. So here follows a review of The New Death and Others by James Hutchings. This is his blog page. If you are not already following him I suggest that you do.

A while ago I was approached by James and asked if I would do a review of his new book (available on smashwords) possibly highlighting its suitability as a background for roleplaying games in the tabletop genre. As I already had a group starting up a new campaign I said yes and got to reading. I quickly found myself emerged in the fantastic world and characters of The New Death and found plenty of inspiration for my campaign.

The book itself:

As a person who usually steers far away from short-story collections (too many bad memories of University) I was pleasingly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. The stories are short and sharp, but even for a fast reader like me there is many hours of relaxed enjoyment in the company of Gods, humans and all those in between. Most of the stories contain some kind of fantastical element in them, heavily influenced by myths and stories. A mix of Lovecraftian horror and One thousand and one nights makes this book a page-turner. Be advised though, that if you are a traditionalist in the fairy-tale department you will find this book very frustrating. I am more of the opposite as I love new interpretations of old stories. In my opinion this helps keep the craft of story telling alive and The New Death is an excellent representation of what happens when fairy-tales are viewed through the eyes of a more modern audience. As stated this is just a warning as I have done plenty of University courses with people who would instantly discard this as rubbish, new interpretations are not for everyone! The reader must be prepared to see their favorite childhood characters in new settings, like the story of Rumpelstiltskin (now popularized by the hit series Once upon a Time) who is bested by google in his search to find a poor girl who he can goat into spinning gold from bullshit. From this we are taught that if you can’t do anything else, get into politics.
I won’t go into details with all the stories as it would spoil the surprise, but if you are into quirky characters and fantastic backgrounds, then you will find stories in here for you.

Adaption into a table-top game.

For our campaign I chose the story of How the Isle of Cats Got Its Name as a lead-in to the setting of the game itself. The story goes like this. A sorceress named Abi-simti would sacrifice everything to gain new knowledge until the only magic she does not know comes directly from the gods. To gain an audience with the only god whos magic she does not know, she builds a harp which is powered by the sound of cats being prodded by nails. Unfortunately for her she has forgotten that the witches of said god are cat-lovers and they of course have their revenge.
In our campaign the character of Abi-simti was also a mighty sorcerer with the power to douse a whole town and make them oblivious to her activities in stealing every cat she could find. Except these were not really cats of course, but cat-people who she forced into staying in their cat form so she could torture and sacrifice them to gain the attention of evil goddess of death and lust. But to finish her contraption she needed the most pure item in town, a flagellant whip owned by the high priest of the Dungar, God of war. Of course the high priest was not exactly willing to give up something so holy. Enter the adventurers who were sold the story of the high priest being a heathen and sent to steal the whip from him. How they got the whip is a long story, which involved hiring a rent-boy and other such things.
Somehow they did manage to steal the whip and get away without being caught, only to discover that their good natured host was in the midst of a blood-rite in the local druid circle. In the end they did stop her evil rites just to be told by the poor captured cat people that this was only the beginning of their hardship and that she was in reality a part of a much larger conspiracy.
For any budding GM this book will offer a multitude of ideas and characters to use in various campaigns and game settings from the Dungeons and Dragons that we used to a Call of Cthulhu setting.