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Monthly Archives: March 2012

Social Relationships and the Internet

I spend a lot of time on the computer. Many people would say it’s an unhealthy amount of time. However, I don’t spend this time playing games; I spend most of this time interacting with other people from across the world, mostly through various instant messaging programs, but also through Twitter, Facebook, and forums. There has been a lot of talk around me about how relationships that one has over the internet are somehow less meaningful than those one has in “real life.” As I have watched my online and “real life” relationships develop, I find that I have to disagree on many counts with this philosophy.

The internet has allowed us to pick our friends in a way we never have been able to do before. No longer is someone limited to picking out the best people from those who surround them, but instead one can pick people from around the world. This means that you can choose to interact with the people who you enjoy interacting with the most, no matter where they are. You never get sick of them, as you are never forced to be near them for long periods of time, and so I’ve found that I have significantly more positive relationships most of my online-only friends than I do with my real-life ones. This is not to say that I don’t have positive relationships with my real life friends; in fact, my most positive relationship is in the “real world,” with my significant other. Overall, however, I get along better with most of my online acquaintances than my “real life” ones.

However, there is a difference between positiveness and meaningfulness, and many people deride the internet for destroying meaningful relationships. However, I think that there is something particularly deep about interacting with someone only through (in my case) a written medium, like a pen pal. It reduces the other person to nothing more than pure consciousness, and aren’t we always taught that it’s what’s inside a person that counts most? What better way to get to know someone’s insides (puns intended) than to strip away the shell of their body and meet with their mind, away from the distractions of the “real world?” I believe that this level of contact can actually deepen relationships.

However, there is one very, very large “if” clause. As many are quick to point out, it is very easy to hide your identity over the internet. This allows for dangerous people to masquerade as something other than who they “really” are, and for internet users into fooling other people. I have a question for everyone with regards to this. What defines who you “really” are?

If someone is using the internet to their own sleazy ends, then their internet persona, in the end, is still sleazy. If someone used the internet to express themselves exactly as they would in “real life,” then they are exactly the same in both realms. The vast majority of people on the internet, however, are neither sleazy nor are their online selves the same as their “real life” selfs. They actively try to act differently, and many argue that they are being someone that they aren’t.

I challenge this assertion, and flip it upside down. I feel more at home on the internet, connecting with other minds only, than I do in person. In most cases (not all), I actually feel more like myself on the internet than I do in “real life.” In “real life,” we all wear masks, and are forced to hide things from other people, constantly performing, to use sociological terms, facework and impression management. On the internet, one does not need to keep up the masks anymore, as no one else can see them or reach them (unless they are interacting with a dedicated stalker, in which case there are problems to be dealt with). This dropping of the masks, I think, allows for someone’s “true” self to be revealed over the internet, as they are freed from social control; their inner thoughts and desires (Freud’s Id) can come out with the ego and superego of society keeping them down. This certainly often has a negative effect in many public venues (just look at YouTube), when people use the internet to try and become someone more than they were in real life. However, in small-scale or private interactions between people who only know each other through the internet, this does not generally occur, and I believe allows people to connect on a deeper level than they would otherwise be able to.

This is not to say that there is no merit in “real life” relationships; there certainly is, and they can definitely be enjoyed! I do not think it is necessarily accurate to judge these relationships as “inferior” to “real life” relationships, however; like “real life” relationships, each online relationship must be judged on a case-by-case basis. Is the perceived “erosion” of physical relationships really necessarily a bad thing?

Thoughts?

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Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Philosophical Musings

 

Verdigris

Hello everyone! I just finished playing/reading/adventuring with Andy Kirschbaum‘s interactive novel Verdigris on my Droid, and wanted to share my thoughts on it. I should go into this saying that I have an astonishing lack of experience with this kind of narrative; I read a few choose-your-own-adventure books when I was younger, and played a few text-based multiple choice adventure games, but other than that, my experience with forms of electronic interactive fiction is very limited.

As such, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from Verdigris, but I went with the expectation of finding a text-based adventure game. I was wrong. Verdigris is truly best described as an “interactive novel,” and far surpassed the expectations I had held of an interactive narrative. Most overtly, Verdigris did away with the inconveniences of many text-based games, making it very simple to follow and a pleasure to use.

Instead of having to do all of the traveling yourself, hopping from place to place, once you began an adventure hook, you were kept within that storyline until it’s conclusion, which delighted me. I had expected to have to trudge around finding clues to solve the mystery, but what I ended up doing was starting on a plotline that seemed interesting, and then just making the choices for how the character solved the plot, solving the plot, and then moving onto the next one. The organization was very simple, which resulted in the story itself coming to the forefront, rather than the “gameplay.” And the story was really where thisVerdigris shown.

The world of Verdigris is extremely rich and well-developed, with deep characters, interesting locations, and complex plots. I was immersed in the world throughout the story, and couldn’t stop trying to figure things out. The world itself was a fascinating blend of steampunk, magic, science, social and political commentary (which often had me smirking, especially the game’s references to bureaucracies), industrialism, robots, and the undead. The characters in the world were all very well-thought out, and I enjoyed interacting with them. The plot was also extremely intriguing, and I genuinely wanted to find out what was going on.

Unfortunately, when I had completed 11/12 of the story’s “missions,” a bug caused me to have to restart. However, this was actually not a bad thing; it gave me the chance to go through the story again, choosing different options, and opened up a whole new set of narrative possibilities that I enjoyed going through again. In the end, my one complaint with the game was that I wish there was more! A lot of interesting avenues for further exploration into the world of Verdigris were opened, and I would love to learn more about it – particularly the pneumatic tube system and the August Lord in Jade.

I highly recommend Verdigris to pretty much anyone. It’s a worthy purchase, and I good way to pass the time – though be careful in case you can’t stop! It is available here on iTunes and here on Google Play. Also be sure to visit Andy’s website and blog.

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2012 in Readings

 

Beneath: Chapter One Completed

Good news, everyone! I am one third of the way done with new, revised, and improved #writemotivation goals! I have finished the first chapter of Beneath.

I have, in celebration, posted it in its entirety below. I would love to hear any comments people have on it, as I want it to be comprehensible to those not familiar with the Juxian Mythos; if you read it and have any points of confusion, please point them out in the comments section so that I can make them clearer! Hope you enjoy!

***

“Bloody hell.”

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me. Bloody, bloody hell.”

The stately being seated beside me raised an eyebrow and turned fully to face me. “You equate our home planet with a thoroughly unpleasant place, filled with bodily fluids?”

“What? No, I didn’t say that.”

“You most definitely did. ‘Bloody hell’ were your exact words.”

“And here was me thinking you Juxtani didn’t use the word ‘hell.’ I mean, I knew that your language – Kordic, isn’t it? – is almost exactly the same as English, with a few minor variations. I guess ‘hell’ isn’t one of them.”

“‘Hell’ is merely a word we use for an unpleasant place or situation that causes great pain.”

I chuckled softly to myself. “Huh. Well, in our language, the word means the same thing in common usage, but it derives from one of our religions. In that religion, ‘Hell’ was a place where sinners were sent upon their death. To be punished for eternity.”

“Sinners. I take that to mean someone who violated accepted codes of conduct?”

I shrugged. “I guess. The accepted codes of conduct I was referring to were that of said religion, of course.”

“Religion. An odd concept. Belief in a higher power, with no evidence as to its existence. How… quaint.”

I rolled my eyes and leaned back in my seat. It was a very comfortable seat, with soft, plush, grey cushions all around me. “Yes. Quite. Quaint. And your Juxtani religion is different because you have proof that your gods exist.”

“Gods do not exist in the sense that you refer to them, Sana Hicks. They are merely beings like us, just with immense… power, and knowledge. Your species’ continued belief in these nonexistent gods is interesting.”

“You know what,” I said, nettled at my companion’s condescending manner, turning my head to look at him square in the face. He was very light-skinned, and looked exactly like a Human. His hair was a dark brown, almost bordering on black, and hung down slightly past his shoulders. Two shorter lengths of braided hair framed his face, with jewels and other glittery objects littering them. Like a magpie. He wore his thin, oiled mustache well, and his hand-length beard was waxed so heavily that it didn’t move at all.

“Not all Humans believe in gods,” I continued, curbing the annoyance in my voice, reminding myself that I was representing my entire species here. No pressure. “We’re not all the exact same person. We don’t share a common personality. We are all different. I am sure the same is true of you Elfviyat.”

“To an extent. Your Human race contains much more individual variation than ours does. We… discourage deviation.”

“Of course you do.” I looked back out the window at the planet of Evoriim, capital of the fabled Elfviyat Empire, the cultural center of Juxtani Civilization – that United Nations-style entity consisting of fifteen thousand member civilizations across the universe.

Bloody hell, I thought again, peering past my companion, who naturally took for himself the coveted window-seat of the space-shuttle, leaving his guest in the awkward position of craning his neck to see out of the viewport beside him. You’d think for a race with a couple hundred thousand years of technological advancement over us, they’d be able to build a shuttle that didn’t look like a snapshot from a twenty-first century airplane.

Most of the trip had, thankfully, taken place on an enormous Elfviyat spaceliner, with a very Tolkienesque name: the Lorien. It had been quite comfortable. And large. Very large. With all the viewports one could ever hope for. I missed it already.

But upon our arriving within five starsystems of the fabled planet of Evoriim, all of that had changed. The Elfviyat took their capital’s security very seriously. From the time I spent among their kind on board the Lorien, I had already gathered a vague sense of the character of the Eflviyat culture, which was one of the reasons King Darien had sent me on this mission. That and to get me away from my ex-wife.

Thank god for that.

The Elfviyat were very concerned with appearances. Everything they did was formalized, and there seemed to be a ritual for everything. I couldn’t blink without making some offering to their Juxtani gods. I passed through twelve rituals on board the spaceliner. It was awful. This trip might very well kill me. The great King Darien was probably laughing his ass of back home right now. He’s in for it when I get back, the royal bastard. They seem to take their gods – or “Elders” and “Ancients” and “Kretons” and “Ascendants” and god knows whatever classifications they use – much more seriously than the rest of Juxtani Civilization. Yet no one ever laughed at them. I tried once, on board the Lorien. It didn’t end well. Humor, I think, would be a useful addition to the Elfviyat arsenal.

Before I had left New Atlantis, the beloved capital city of King Darien’s bold new Human Empire, I had studied up on what was known of Elfviyat culture, and found that it was surprisingly little. Having worked in Ulaanbaatar – the capital city of the Human Empire before King Darien’s revolution – as a private investigator dealing with alien races for two decades, this fact surprised me. It disturbed me, as well, that in my field, I was lacking a fundamental understanding of one of the most powerful civilizations in the universe.

When I brought the matter up before King Darien, of course, he was greatly amused. “Oh, then this mission will be perfect. When you go out to Evoriim, use your amazing memory and observational skills to learn all you can about the Elfviyat, for use in the future. I expect a full report. Let’s say 250 pages. Single-spaced, size twelve Times New Roman font. Half-inch margins. Ten by twenty centimeter pages.”

How I regretted telling the good King Darien about that lack of knowledge now. And, alas, the glorious spaceliner Lorien was no longer my companion. We disembarked from it five star systems away from Evoriim itself, onto a cold space station orbiting the planet Loreas. It was crafted from polished obsidian, and the lights sprinkled about its vast and airy hallways had done little to lighten the blackened gloom.

I was grateful I had brought little with me as we made the trek from the Lorien to the far side of the station – easily a thirty minute walk. I had a rolling suitcase with forty changes of clothes compressed in vacuum bags, and a small arsenal scattered throughout it. Everything else I needed I carried in my pockets. Everything else consisted, of course, of the all-purpose PAU. My Personal Assistance Unit.

It did everything. It was a Juxtani thing, and when Jakken Jalhalla Servidos brought the Juxtani with him, he brought also the PAU’s. They were hooked up the Juxtanet, which functioned sort of like a massive, intergalactic internet, and served as a credit card, ID card, Juxtanet surfer, digital reader, telescope, camera, and even, with some modifications, a hoverboard. My own PAU was my pride and joy; any technician poking around at its innards would never recognize it. From the outside, though, it is just a flat chrome circle about the size of my palm. Holographic projectors make everything easier to read. They were provided to everyone in Juxtani Civilization, free of charge. One of the perks of hobnobbing with aliens, I suppose.

After our disembarkation on Obsidian Station – I bet it was called Moria – those of us traveling to Evoriim piled onto the cramped shuttle I had the delightful pleasure of being on as the planet itself came into view. Most of the other passengers on the Lorien – which I had gotten on at the station of Galikia, having taken a Narrut shuttle from Earth to get there – were going to the planet below the black station, but eleven of us, myself included, were headed to Evoriim. I was carrying the least by far; the poor soul who had the enviable pleasure of sitting next to me on the flight had four wagons of belongings, and had to be assisted by a group of manservants waiting around for just such an occasion to arise. Of course, the proper ceremonies had to be respected before they could touch his belongings.

God, I hope I don’t screw anything up. I bloody hate formality.

The first interesting thing I had noticed upon our switching transports was that all eleven of us were Ayudari, and I was the only non-Elfviyat in the group. Like I said, the Elfviyat took their Juxtani gods very seriously, and afforded those five races who had been created in the image of the Elder Ayudarin – the Elfivyat, the Ayakk, the Dassens, the Shortel and us Humans – greater respect than pseudo-Ayudari, who shared many characteristics with us but were still different, and the non-Ayudari, who were completely alien in form and function. On board the Lorien, about three-quarters of the passengers had been Ayudari, and most of them Elfviyat, but there had been a smattering of pseudo-Ayudari and the occasional non-Ayudari loitering around, as well. From this, I deduced my second conclusion about Elfviyat culture: they are not very welcoming or tolerative of outsiders. Indeed, on board the Lorien, a vessel owned and operated by the Elfviyat Empire, the non-Ayudari had been confined to a small area on the bottom of the vessel, and needed special permission to leave there. It was no wonder so few non-Ayudari wanted to visit Elfviyat space, if that was the treatment they would get.

After my current companion had so rudely rushed to take the window seat on board the new shuttle – throwing formal apologies and requests for the seat at me as he did so – I had struck up a conversation with him, and learned a very interesting fact indeed: no non-Ayudari was permitted to see Evoriim, let alone set foot on it.

Fascinating.

Non-Elfviyat also needed special permission to set foot on the planet, though they were welcome to look at it as much as they wanted. The PAU’s of beings leaving Evoriim, I was told, were scanned and any pictures of the planet deleted. “It is a holy place, chosen by Ayudarin herself to be the center of our civilization. It must be respected, and seen only by the eyes of those who are pure,” my companion had told me. From that moment on, I could tell I was going to love it on Evoriim. The Elfviyat reminded me of Hitler, or perhaps Yevon-Israil.

“I feel like it’s watching me,” I told my companion, who smiled.

“Ayudarin watches us all,” he replied.

I knew my Juxtani history. I had studied up on it the instant we came into contact with them thirty years ago. “Isn’t Ayudarin dead?” There’s one difference between our gods and theirs. Theirs could die.

“Well, yes, but the Light of Ayudarin lives on, far away from here. But she is always linked to the Elfviyat, her favorite of the Ayudaric races.” Of course you are. I smiled as fakely as I could, hoping to unnerve the Elfviyat. I’m an awful diplomat. Why did Darien send me out here again? “And so the eye you see represents Ayudarin’s benevolent gaze, watching over us even after her death.”

I definitely felt as if something was watching me, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t Ayudarin. From what I had read about her, she sounded nice. Evoriim was slightly creepy, and I couldn’t shake off the feeling that it really was watching me. It’s just a planet, you idiot. Stop being ridiculous.

Evoriim looked like it had been whitewashed. All of the buildings on the surface – all of them, according to my companion, who had grown rather talkative – were made of white marble. Buildings, of course, covered a large part of the planet’s surface, which was apparently sparsely populated; most of the buildings had been built to house pilgrims come to visit the Shrine of Ayudarin – an Elfviyat-only location, he hastily added. The planet had elicited a “bloody hell” from me when it came into view – after we had synchronized orbits with it, of course – because, from space, the whitewashed marble areas of the planet formed the shape of a titanic eye around the verdant green around it, complete with pupil and iris. I was told that there were was another eye on the other side of the planet.

The white areas of the planet were very, very white. The green areas were also very green. It looked as if someone had painted across its spherical face with bold brush-strokes. It was the most unnatural thing I have ever seen in my entire life.

Still, I was glad to see the planet; it meant that I could finally rest. I’d been traveling constantly since I left Earth a week ago, traveling on various astral highways and leaping through the Interstitial Aethyr to finally make my way almost literally across all of known space. It was a shame I didn’t pass by the center of known space, the fabled planet-sized artificial construction of Juxia. I heard tell that it was one of the greatest marvels of the universe. I could only imagine what space travel was like when one didn’t have the pre-established astral highways to aid you; it was said that Jakken Jalhalla Servidos’ journey from Juxia to Earth took four weeks, forced as they were to travel off the beaten path. I was exceedingly glad that I didn’t have to do that.

There was a brief impact, and the shuttle’s gentle thrumming engines shut off. “What was that?” I asked. “Why did we stop?”

A door behind me hissed open, and a group of Elfviyat wearing spotless, tight-fitting tunics walked in, their hands resting on pistols hanging at their belts. All of them, I noticed, had their hair in the same style as my companion. Actually, every Elfviyat I had met had that same hairstyle. Another curiosity. Hooray conformity!

“Welcome to Talvariim Security Station,” one of them said. Why thank you. Can I sleep now? “We promise you that your long journey will be over soon. As I am sure you all know, however,” I do? “we must first make sure that you are all unarmed. Impure weapons are not allowed on the planet’s surface. If you are carrying any impure weapons on you, please reveal them and turn them over to us now. We will hold them for you here until your return.”

My eyes moved over to the coffin-like compartment at the back of the shuttle’s cylindrical passenger chamber containing my suitcase, and my personal armoury concealed within it. Bloody hell.

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2012 in Writing

 

A Dog’s Life

Wake!

Big Master!

Ruffle!

Ear Rub!

Food!

Little Masters!

Run!

Tail Pull!

Snarl!

Big Master Loud Noise!

Hole in Wall Appears!

Smack!

Outsiiiiiiiiiiide!

Outside!

Outside!

Runrunrunrunrunrunrunrun!

Fence!

Ow!

Squirrel! Squirrelchasesquirrelchasesquirrelchasesq-

Big Master Loud Noise!

Hole in Wall!

Runrunrun!

Food!

Water!

Little Masters Gone!

Big Master Pats!

Wag!

Wag!

Loud noise!

Hole in Wall!

DANGER!

UNKNOWN MASTER!

Hide!

Hidehidehide!

Curl Up!

Loud Noises!

Angry!

Bad Angry!

Growl!

Leap!

BARK!

Kick!

Ow!

Whimper!

Shiny Hand!

BANG!

Big Master Play on Floor!

Unknown Master Gone!

Big Master Play!

Lick!

Big Master Play!

Roll!

Lick!

Big Master Move?

Big Master?

Big Master Play?

Big Master?

Blood…

Copyright 2012 by Z. M. Wilmot

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2012 in Blog Fiction

 

Beneath Underway!

I have decided on my latest project, taking the advice of Becca Weston and Alessandra Hinlo, and it is Beneath, the story of an ex-private investigator turned diplomat on the capital planet of a foreign, powerful alien Empire, struggling to juggle politics, curiosity, and forbidden knowledge. For the rest of March #writemotivation, I will try to write three chapters in Beneath (just the working title, of course). For your reading (dis)pleasure, a small sample of what I’ve done so far is below:

*-*-*

“Bloody hell.”

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me. Bloody, bloody hell.”

The stately being seated beside me raised an eyebrow and turned fully to face me. “You equate our planet with a thoroughly unpleasant place, filled with bodily fluids?”

“What? No, I didn’t say that.”

“You most definitely did. ‘Bloody hell’ were your exact words.”

“And here was me thinking you Juxtani didn’t use the word ‘hell.’ I mean, I knew that your language – Kordic, isn’t it? – is almost exactly the same as English, with a few minor variations. I guess ‘hell’ isn’t one of them.”

“‘Hell’ is merely a word we use for an unpleasant place or situation that causes great pain.”

I chuckled softly to myself. “Huh. Well, in our language, the word means the same thing in common usage, but it derives from one of our religions. In that religion, ‘Hell’ was a place where sinners were sent upon their death. To be punished for eternity.”

“Sinners. I take that to mean someone who violated accepted codes of conduct?”

I shrugged. “I guess. The accepted codes of conduct I was referring to were that of said religion, of course.”

“Religion. An odd concept. Belief in a higher power, with no evidence as to its existence. How… quaint.”

I rolled my eyes and leaned back in my seat. It was a very comfortable seat, with soft, plush, grey cushions all around me. “Yes. Quite. Quaint. And your Juxtani religion is different because you have proof that your gods exist.”

“Gods do not exist in the sense that you refer to them, Sana Hicks. They are merely beings like us, just with immense… power, and knowledge. Your species’ continued belief in these nonexistent gods is interesting.”

“You know what,” I said, nettled at my companion’s condescending manner, turning my head to look at him square in the face. He was very light-skinned, and looked exactly like a Human. His hair was a dark brown, almost bordering on black, and hung down slightly past his shoulders. Two shorter lengths of braided hair framed his face, with jewels and other glittery objects littering them. Like a magpie. He wore his thin, oiled mustache well, and his hand-length beard was waxed so heavily that it didn’t move at all.

“Not all Humans believe in gods,” I continued, curbing the annoyance in my voice, reminding myself that I was representing my entire species here. No pressure. “We’re not all the exact same person. We don’t share a common personality. We are all different. I am sure the same is true of you Elfviyat.”

“To an extent. Your Human race contains much more individual variation that ours does. We… discourage deviation.”

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

An Update, Tal’kan on the Backburner, and #Writemotivation

My life, in case you weren’t aware, has been a whirlwind of late. I’ve been struggling to write insane amounts of papers, having every spare moment of my time filled with homework and other kinds of work. I’ve had scarcely any time to myself, and the stress really shows on me. I can’t write when I’m stressed, unless I am extremely excited about what I’m writing.

That, I think, is the reason I’ve been struggling with #writemotivation. I’ve been (trying) to work on my novel Tal’kan, the concept of which I love – who doesn’t love techno-druids? – but I still have been unable to motivate myself to use my spare time to write much in it. I’ve spent so much time away from it that I need to reacquaint myself with the characters, the plot, and the world. That will take some time. After finishing up Matai’s latest chapter, I decided that I needed to give the novel some more breathing space.

So, I have decided, for now, to put Tal’kan on the backburner. I will by now means be abandoning the project – I’ve but 34,000 words into it, and I refuse to throw that away. For the moment, however, my heart as moved on, and so for now I will be focusing on writing something else. I need to start a new novel, more in the science fiction vein.

And so, dear readers, I ask you a simple question: which of the following three novels (already outlined by yours truly) would you be interested in seeing next? All of the options are set in my scifi/fantasy Juxian Mythos universe, and so the following descriptions might seem a little bit odd taken out of context.

-Beneath: Russell Hicks is an ex-private investigator, who, in the course of the events of the novel The Divine Madness of Kings (another project of mine on the backburner), becomes a top advisor to the King of Man, Darien Servidos. He is sent to the capital of the Elfviyat Empire, the planet of Evoriim, to represent humanity as they are inducted into a select group of intersteller empires. Upon his arrival, though, he finds that the utopian planet hides many secrets, and that things are not quite as they seem. He uncovers horrifying secret after horrifying secret, and struggles to juggle his newfound knowledge, his diplomatic duties, and his natural curiosity as to what lies beneath the planet’s surface. This novel will be a political Lovecraftian science fiction piece, focusing on the horrors of society and how one copes with possessing terrible, forbidden knowledge.

Heart of the Supernova: It is the dateyn 422 AFA (After the Fall of K’Shatryan). The Shortel Empire, a new re-inductee into Juxtani Civilization (a UN-style organization of intersteller empires), has sent a mining and scientific expedition to a distant star system in the hopes of increasing its wealth. Unbeknownst to them, a “lost” civilization – one of the millions of empires that were destroyed or separated from Juxtani Civilization in the distant past by the Elder K’Shatryan – known as the Dassens are also headed for this star system. A grave misunderstanding causes the two fleets to clash almost immediately upon their mutual arrival, while all the while a renegade scientist on board the Shortel fleet has his own agenda, and his own destiny awaiting him. The novel will chart the course of the Dassens Empire’s reintegration into Juxtani  Civilization, their troubled relations with the Shortel, and the nature of the mysterious Light of Ayudarin.

A Deadly Dance: The Aleuvite and S’Kari Empires have never gotten along. They have both realized that their constant feuding harms them both, and so sit down to negotiate a truce, using a third party to smooth out the deal: a young being from the famously open-minded Nevwai Republic. A tragic accident causes the third party representative to become slightly unhinged, eventually culminating in the monster known as Roland van der Tyke: the antagonist of The Libel of Blood (soon to be released!). Roland proceeds to use his power and political sway to tear the S’Kari and Aleuvite empires apart in revenge, starting what could be the war to end all wars, the war that drags all civilization in the universe down with it. This novel will focus on the development of character Roland van der Tyke, Third Thiefking of Banditry, before he ever becomes a Thiefking, as well as the S’Kari and Aleuvite ambassadors betrayed by Roland, who seek to end the deadly war at all costs in a deadly, deadly dance. It will be very character-driven.

I will probably start working on the new project tomorrow, so if you have an opinion as to which sounds most interesting, pipe in now and tell me so in the Comments section! Hopefully a new project will kick my motivation back into gear!

On that note, this sudden switch of projects is forcing me to change my #writemotivation goal – which I wasn’t doing so well at completing, anyway. My new goal for what little remains of the month is simple: [b]write three chapters in the new project.[/b] By the end of the month. Should be simple, but we’ll see how it turns out.

On a final note, The Libel of Blood is still finished, and still waiting on coverart! Thank you everybody for your patience! Also, my apologies for the disjointed post; I’m exhausted, and off to sleep. Ta-ta for now!

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2012 in Writing

 

#Writemotivation Check-in, Kreativ Blogger Award

Well, things are not going well in the #writemotivation department. I haven’t been able to find the time to just sit down and write a good chunk of material ever since I finished off “The Woodsman”‘s first draft and finished off a Herenna chapter in Tal’kan. University homework and other obligations just seem to keep coming out of nowhere, and unfortunately demand to be done first. I’ve managed to grab a few spare minutes a day to get a few words in, but nothing significant as of yet. This semester has been brutal.

Hopefully, though, I’ll be able to finish off another chapter in Tal’kan today; at least, that’s my goal. We’ll see how that works out.

In other news, Lissa Clouser has given me a Kreativ Blogger award. Thank you very much! I really appreciate it. As part of receiving this, I am supposed to thank her (done, but thank you again!), list seven interesting things about myself, and nominate seven more people. I will be more than happy to list seven interesting things about myself, but I’ve always felt awkward nominating other people for things like this, so I will refrain from that bit, but will give shout-outs to the following awesome people. If they want to post seven facts about themselves, they may, but this is just a list of seven awesome internet people with fascinating stories, ideas, and interests:

1. Jacob G. Adams
2. K. T. Hanna
3. Rebekah Loper
4. Dionne Lister
5. Alessandra Hinlo
6. Jamie Dement
7. Dyadic Echoes
(8.): Thomas James Brown

So, then, onto seven facts about me!

1. I have been playing percussion – including mallet percussion, timpani, concert percussion, drum set, and Bodhran – for almost twelve years. My specialties are drumset and Bodhran (for those of you who don’t know what it is, it’s a traditional Irish drum that you play vertically with a stick called a tipper; here‘s a picture of my teacher with one of his).

2. I also play the Tin Whistle – I’m teaching myself, and so am moving forward relatively slowly. It drives everyone within fifty feet of my insane when I start playing.

3. I am extremely picky about what music I listen to, and primarily listen to symphonic metal (favorite bands being Nightwish, Sonata Arctica, Rhapsody of Fire, Luca Turilli, Stratovarius, and Avantasia). I also listen to folk metal (such as Eluveitie, In Extremo, and Turisas), and other good metal acts (Lordi, Rammstein). I am also a huge fan of progressive rock (Rush, Kansas, Transatlantic, Jethro Tull, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Liquid Tension Experiment), and classic rock (Supertramp, Blue Oyster Cult, UFO). And, of course, I also love traditional Irish Music (Lunasa, Solas, The Chieftains, Danu, Eliot Grasso, Gaelic Storm, Beoga, Bothy Band, Cherish the Ladies, and more)

4. I am an occultist, and am rather proficient at reading Tarot cards, and am in the process of teaching myself Astrology and Geomancy at the moment. Runes/Futhark is next on my list. If you ever want a reading, drop by my EsoTarot blog. My favorite Tarot cards are the Hanged Man, the Devil, and the Nine of Swords (Cruelty).

5. I don’t watch that much television or movies, but when I do, I watch mostly science fiction shows and Disney. My favorite shows are Babylon 5FireflyFarscapeRed DwarfDoctor WhoTorchwoodCrusadeTaleSpin, Wolf’s Rain, Claymore, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Phineas and Ferb, Psych, Eureka, and The Guild. My favorite movies are Princess Mononoke, How to Train Your Dragon, The Great Escape, Titan AE, Anastasia, Tangled, The Road to El Dorado, Groundhog Day, Hercules, The Lion King, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, The Whisperer in Darkness, The Hobbit, The Last Unicorn, Wall-e, and Up.

6. I read almost exclusively science fiction and horror. My favorite authors are H. P. Lovecraft, Dan Simmons, Vernor Vinge, David Brin, Tamora Pierce, Lois MacMaster Bujold, and Terry Pratchett. My favorite book series of all time is Dan Simmons’ Hyperion Cantos.

7. I study History and Sociology. In Sociology, I focus my studies on social inequality and diversity, and in History my focus is on the medieval Middle East, particularly on Iran. I will (hopefully) be writing a thesis next semester on the Great Saljuq Sultanate.

Lastly, I wanted to just do a Lucky Sevens thing with my own manuscript Tal’kan: going to the seventy-seventh page of it (I’m only on page 78 right now!), going to line seven, and then copying the next seven lines. So here it is (it makes absolutely no sense out of context, I realized):

“Think you can spare something for your poor old daughter?”

 He tossed her one of his projectiles. “I expect it back without a scratch.”

 Herenna saluted.

 “Good. Now let’s get out there and kill some druids!”

 Herenna needed no other urging, and she and her father joined the oncoming tide, leaving Herenna’s companion to guard the machine. By then, the bubble had reached the edge of the hill.

So, that’s that! Hopefully I can get something done today!

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2012 in Personal, Writing