Tag Archives: floating islands

Web Fiction: Smiling Krakken Part One

I was at a Convention this weekend, so I did not get anything done then.  So for this week’s blog post, here is the first in a Series of Web Fiction in the same world as “The Allmother’s Fire”.

The problem with sword fighting while falling from one flying ship to another was the wind kept whipping Noviani’s hair in her face.  Well, that probably wasn’t the one problem with it, the lithe Air Pirate Captain admitted to herself as she spread out her arms and legs, hoping the wind would catch her pantaloons and allow her to glide slightly to the right so that she would land on the rapidly approaching deck below her and not miss it, plummeting to her death when she would eventually fall into the Sun Below.

The large brute that was slightly above her and relatively horizontal was another problem, she conceded.  More likely the large cutlass he brandished at her repeatedly was the true issue, and she had to spastically crane her head and flail her limbs away from him rapidly so as not to lose them, breaking how she was trying to position herself to catch the wind.  Fire seemed to erupt from her shoulder as the tip of his weapon shallowly scratched Noviani there, slicing effortlessly through her silken sleeve.  Thankfully he was not of noble blood, so that fire was a figurative feeling, and not a literal flame burning her skin.

“DIEYOUSCURVYDOG” or some other such nonsense was screamed at her by the First Mate of the Sky’s Embrace, the grandiose ship the two of them were descending from.  Another shallow cut slashed through her other sleeve, and blood began to freely splash out, obscuring her vision almost as much her red hair as it sprayed out everywhere due to the wind.  It was not as much as his aim was true that allowed him to land so many blows, as it was that he had a weapon and all she had really was her pouch on her belt, her silken shirt, and her voluminous pantaloons which did not parry sword swipes well.

Noviani decided to focus on that advantages she did have before she bled to death or the big ox landed a luck blow across her neck, so she used both her hands to pull on the exterior of her pants again, this time as she locked her legs together, mildly imitating a horizontal version of the sails the flying ships those of her profession loved to use.  To her shock it seemed to do as she hoped, and almost immediately she slowed her decent.  This caused her to try to swerve her body, so she did not crash into the large bald cursing moron who was now moving slower than her.

He screamed some sort of impotent threat as she was now above him, and then he finally seemed to focus on what was below him, which was not Noviana’s ship.  This allowed new torrent of cursing to eloquently pass his lips as he missed the Smiling Krakken, and would eventually reach the Sun Below.  If the giant oaf had not thrown both of them off of his ship Noviani would have sympathy for him and his eventual fate, but as he did she allowed a small smile to curve on her lips.  Then she steered herself towards her ship, and saw to her relief the pilot Miano was trying to intercept her as well.

Novianai was definitely stunned when she hit the deck, but something about the strange properties of the wood of the ship that allowed it fly also absorbed most of her energy and she did not break any bones when she hit it.  This allowed her to sit up and laugh, as the crew crowded around her.  Donello, her First Mate approached her and held out his hand as he said, “Good job Captain, did you get it?”

She sprung to her feet, ignoring Donello’s hand and laughed a full and rich laugh as she unbuckled her pouch and responded, “Why yes I did,” and brought out from the pouch a large gold necklace festooned with gems of all colors and sizes.  It seemed to sparkle of it’s own accord, like the Allmother herself was contained within.  Not that the prior owner was particularly religious, considering Noviana had met him in a dingy dive bar on a small floating island the day before.  It had not taken long to get into his bed, and then his personal chest and run out to the deck where she had fired her musket into the sky trusting that her crew had been following the Sky’s Embrace as planned.  The powder had burned bright in the night lit only by the Sun Below, and almost immediately her ship that had been trailing far enough away and below to not be spotted moved towards her, but she had not seen the First Mate who immediately knocked her over the side after she fired the signal.

This did not bother her much now, as she was on her ship and the First Mate would soon be burnt to a crisp, or worse.  Her “Uncle” had taught her how to be a Pirate Captain well, and now it was time to pay him back, for a reasonable finder’s fee of course.  “Miano, loose these feeble dogs, and set course for Lofonzo for our meeting with Captain Bloodeyes the Allmother’s Grace.”  Being a Pirate, who stole from Pirates, to sell to other Pirates was always an adventure.  Noviana had avoided any serious consequences so far, and she was sure she would continue to do so.

He woke up feeling empty.

The screams of almost seconds ago were a fading memory, and the pain that had caused them was gone too.  Something called “The Sky’s Embrace” had meant something to him once too, but even that idea faded away.

There was one thought, one image in his mind.  She had red hair, a pouch that he needed back, and aship that was soon to be dead.  A thing with the memories of the First Mate got to his feet and started to climb up from the well he found himself in.  His fingernails tore, and blood slowly leaked on his hands as he moved up to the surface.  He could feel her approaching, and hopefully it would only be days before his fingers could wrap one final time around her laughing throat.


Over the top or just Epic enough?

Another personal emergency happened recently, but this time when things calmed down, I  got to use writing (moving more on book two of Allmother’s Fire) as a way of dealing with things, instead of letting the events of life throw up another obstacle in the way of completing the next book. It’s a nice change.

The biggest issue I am having with this next book I think is deciding what tone to sent.  Recent influences have been very pulpy, and it feels to me like a lot of the plans for where the plot is going and recent scenes have been full of big ideas and cinematic concepts.

There is not a problem with that either, but a few of the readers of my last book in the Allmother’s Fire let me know what they  like the most was the characters, the family, and the occasionaly bits of humor that peeked out more.  They prefered this to action and giant ideas screaming across the page.  I even had a small amount tell me what they liked most was the when it was serious, and the ‘realistic’ aspects of the book.

Overall, flying Airpirates that shoot blood out of their eyes and raid giant floating castles filled with gold does not really speak of realistic to me.  Like all writers I want to hope people like what I write, so let’s just assume they like the character moments, and the way people respond to what happens.

This leaves me with the fact that however I write this second book, if I shift away from the kind of hodgepodge mix of themes and attitudes I will probably disappoint someone.  The next book won’t stray greatly in themes from the first, hopefully not enough to be jarring, but as a writer I tend to write with what inspires me, and often what I want to read or see at the moment.

At heart, this really a is a tale of how the remenant of a family faces the rest of the world against them, so character and relationships will matter and stay central to the plot.  At the same time, besides some revelation of things that went on behind the scenes in the first book that show the scope was grander then though of orignally, I am just in a mood to write those crazy  kinetic gonzo scenes and images.

So you will still ships dueling in the sky and blades flashing in between semi witty repartee, but you will also get more lost tribes, unexplored worlds, and all of existence in peril.  Let’s hope this comes off as more epic, and not so over the top that it feel incongrous with the tone of the other books. This is what editors and beta readers are for, so I can blame them if it comes out wrong!

Killing your Babies and Revision

Very minor spoilers (if you read the product description there are no spoilers involved)

Fall of House Nemeni begins with four chapters of four different view points based off a single event.  The original idea was to chronicle the cataclysmic (well at least for the House Nemeni it was) events that shape the rest of the book, and show how a different pair of eyes could tell a different story.  As I get feedback from multiple people about the beginning of the book although there are some differences of opinion, most people have responded thusly: they like Chapters 1 and 2, and most did 4.  What has become really obvious, is that most did not like Chapter 3, and it has made me think about something another author once told me.

They said, “The most important thing about being an author is being willing to kill your babies.”  I am pretty sure it was not a literal infanticide comment or just bieng willing to let characters die, but more about excising things in your book that you will want to keep because they are important to you, but the book does not really need it.  Upon re reading I can see chapters 1, 2, and 4 reveal significant new information and interesting characters that it is obvious why people like those chapters.  In my mind Chapter 3 was a needed piece of the puzzle, but further study combined with feedback makes it obvious to me that maybe three lines are really needed, the rest just completes my want of having four characters observe the same events, and is not needed.

I am going to send House Nemeni through another round of edits, even though publsihed now, as I have caught several issues not caught before original publication (then/than issues, some grammar, etc) and a couple of formatting issues that did not show in the preview mode when I published it to kindle.  I plan to do this rather soon, and want it out before the July 4th weekend if possible.  At the same time these edits will help the book, nothing major changes as to the story itself by doing them.

With that in mind, I now ask my next poll question:

When I release the revised version of the book, should I entirely cut out the current chapter three?

1)Yes, if overwhelmingly people don’t seem to like the chapter, then cut it.  Early momentum when reading is important.

2)No, the book has been released, if you kill an entire chapter in future versions of the book, that will be confusing to the people that already have it if they download the revised version later.

Specifics, like whether or not I should add the few missing pieces of information that would occur from killing that chapter into another place in the book can be decided later.

Also, is there someone who is not currently editing another book for me that thinks they could do another round of revisions in the allotted time?  If so, please let me know the more fresh eyes the better.

As for a book world tidbit:

There are flying versions of various creatures both of the mundane variety (like flying gazelles) and the less mundane (like flying Kraken) around the floating islands. In many cases they have versions that seem island bound, and than others that fly around.  In the cases gazelles the flying variety have wings, in the cases of some of the species like Kraken they do not.  There is not a lot of conjecture in this world as to why this occurs, but some philosophers think it is the same thing that allows islands to fly and never sink that allows certain species to do the same.  Every year more mundane species seemed to be spotted flying (some try to even say they have seen flying cows and pigs) in uncharted spots around the isles, but there is not definitive proof for many of the claims made.

Select Markets and Noble Abilities

There is a promotional move that I am considering but I am kind of torn.  Kindle has a Select program with its independent authors, where you can enroll in that program and get more exposure, and also recieve some compensation when someone checks out your book in the Kindle library from being a Prime member.  This gives your book a much wider exposure which is great for an independent author, as letting the masses know your book even exists is one of the toughest things at the beginning.

However, like all things in life, there is a catch.  If you do this, your book has to be exclusive to Kindle electronically for at least 90 days.  Today I recieved my formatted manuscript for my publisher to Nook, iBookstore, Sony, etc today or this weekend.  The way things are, I would be allowed waiting the 90- days to have it up in that bookstore, but I have several readers who already told me they only use nook (as I used to) and so they will have to wait three more months from when I start until they can read my book.

At this point my question is twofold.  First, will more new people be exposed being the Select program to make up for the loss on all other platforms?  Second, even if this is true (which may be possible) is this something I want to do?  I know if I was still tied only to the nook platform that would annoy me, and maybe even make me care less about the book when it did come out on my platform.

This all ties into today’s poll, a rather simple but important one:

Should I join the Select program and be 90 days exclusive to Kindle?:

1)Yes, the benefits outweigh the negatives.

2)No, the negatives outweigh the benefits.

Pretty simple question, but more important than most of these polls in my mind, since I will make my decision over the weekend.

I finally had my first clarification question about a character and their abilities in Private Mail, and in case others are wondering I wanted to add a caveat that might help in reading.  I want to do it in a way without giving spoilers to those very early in the book so here it is – remember everyone has two parents, and many of them are from different noble houses so there are multiple types of abilities each person might have access too.

Also along those lines, people have asked about noble blood and powers, here are a few (but there are others, and Artists and small guilds have their own abilities too)

1)House Nemeni — power over metals that manifests in making clockwork gadgets that can break the Grand Laws of the Universe, or more mundane clockwork gadgets but do not need to be wound if used by a member of Hosue Nemeni.  They can “call” out to the gadget and it works.

2)House Tanello – power over water, this shows mainly in manipulating and detectingwater over distances, they are experimenting with steam engines

3)Various families of Lontor — amongst other smaller islands, they have power over Wood, and make the much needed cloudwood  that all airships use, and can sculpt it with their bare hands

4)Artists – control and molding of earth and marble and stone

Keep sending questions, and I may have some interesting news next week about another project I am … well we will just wait and see.

And the book is Available!

I was not expecting this post so soon.  You can buy the book on Amazon right now!

Click here to go see it!

Please share this post, as an independent author that is the best way to get the work out about this book, by word of mouth!  The more twitter feeds, facebook statuses, etc. reproduce this, the more people will know it exists. Thank you everyone for all your help!  I look forward to discussing the contents ofthe book more, now that people can actually read it 🙂

Cover Art Part I: The Art!

Without much further ado ladies and gentlemen : The Cover!

Book 1 Cover

I’m very pleased with it, and it is way beyond my expectations.  The interview of Tatiana, the artist, whose choice easily won my poll will occur this weekend.  I will probably be able to post that early next week, hence why today’s blog is part 1.

So while I wait for that interview I wanted to go just a little into what I liked about it so much. Originally I wanted to focus on the ship, as it was an iconic part of the book.  However when I got the first rough draft back the island so overtook the ship in terms of visual impression to me that I had her reduce the ships importance drastically.  Not to mention that the floating island showed off some of the uniqueness of the world even more than the ship does.

You will also notice two light sources, and this is due to their being the Sun Above and the Sun Below in this book, which the artist incorporated into the final version of the piece.  The font also is striking, and gives the book a slightly different feel then others, and tied into why I fell in love this with this cover.

Book status updates: both versions of the book, the kindle version and the one with my publisher are being formatted right now.  The process will probably take a little over a week for each, so I doubt I will have much news to give on either version next week, but does mean optimistically I will probably beat my July deadline of getting it published foreseeing anything major.

Before I go onto my poll I wanted to share another tidbit about the world since I have gotten to private emails about wanting to know about the Allmother (hey everyone, you can sue the polls for that too : ) ) and her church in this world.  Basically it has many similarities to the Catholic church during the Renaissance era but there are a few major differences too.  One, they worship a creator who is female and therefore the Priestesses in this church are too.  Most women except the poorest families either become priestesses or marry, so it is one of the few ways women have power in this society.  Another difference is instead of having one written book they have a collection of songs and tales told orally.  There are written versions of these tales but the primary ways they are passed on is through song in the church.  Although there are other differences the last I will bring up here is one of the main ways a woman born into poverty can have any amount of control of her life is if she is adopted as a ward of the church, and then eventually becomes a Priestess at that same church.

Now for the poll:

This is kinda meta, it’s a poll about polls.  I have noticed a drop off in the past few polls, so I wonder if people still want them.  Here are the choices.

1)Yes, polls every post please.  I just like answering polls.

2)Continue polls sometimes, but not every post needs a poll.

3)We don’t really need polls anymore.  They were fun when helping with the process and affecting how the book would turn out, but I would rather only see them if it was that level of impact again.

Also as always, the directions I take this blog depend upon what is said in the comments below!

Airship Pirates and Formatting!

The title refers to the results of the poll last week.  There was definitely less voting last week but more viewers than normal, which is odd.  I will focus on that subject more in a little bit.

In book news, the manuscript completely finished and edited.  It now goes through the joys of formatting, yippee!  The Kindle formatting does not look too cumbersome, and a friend of mine is helping me with that (Hi Rose!) so it might be done before the one that goes to my publisher.  My publisher on the other hand needs the document in a VERY specific format, as once you send it that way, it goes through a computer program and spits out your e book in the various formats that it can publish in.  Due to the same attributes that allows it to publish in so many formats there can be no deviancy from its 96 page style manual, so that one is going to take a little longer to be done!  The good news is there is a certain amount of crossover from what both Kindle and my publisher want so next time I can start off with that format and not have this issue next time as much.

The next good book news is I got the first draft of the cover, and I am seriously impressed!  The artist is working on the second draft (I only had a few minor caveats) now.  It’s a mixed media piece, and does indeed feature a large floating island.

Now to go more into Airship Pirates as per the poll.

This book is vaguely modeled on the Renaissance era when the Medici family was creating all sorts of art and through commerce basically ruling Florence without actually being nobility.  In real life there were few pirates then (more privateers than anything else like Sir Francis Drake who is not horribly out of that time period) and there are other issues that would hurt the historical accuracy of this book.  Thankfully however, this is a fantasy book with floating islands and airships that fly solely due to the magical wood they use, so I am not exactly bound by history.

In the novel when the devastating events that you read in the first chapter happens (if you have not done so already go to the top of the page this blog is on, and click “Sample Chapter” and read it and then come back) some of the survivors hide in the world of air piracy in order not to die like the House Nemeni.  Although some of the floating islands can be large enough to have river commerce occur on the surface of the islands, most actual commerce happens between the various floating city states by airship.  Each noble family in this world has some ways inherited by them to break the Grand Laws of the universe, and one of them allows them to alchemically change wood, so it has different properties than normal.  That’s how the Bleedshot in the opening chapter is created.  The most highly prized wood however is cloudwood.

For whatever reason this wood allows a ship to rise, no matter how much weight is put in it.  You can anchor yourself to an island, but as long as the ship stays on the edges of an island it will remain floating.  If pushed into the center of an island or flying to close over it, it may slowly sink to the ground, but it would not crash.  Since this wood works regardless of weight, the only limit of what ships made of cloudwood can carry is how big the structure is.  This has caused some of the banking and other houses to make giant floating castle like citadels in the sky that have a cloudwood structure inside and a marble structure outside.  This is done mainly for intimidation or security, but does give them a rather large blind spot underneath them.

Some bastards of noble families and some Artists can shape wood or marble with their bare hands, and this allows pirates who have members form those families to “carve” a way into these ships or citadels with their bare hands, if they get close enough.  The most famous Pirate is a “Captain Bloodeyes” who has gained his moniker from forcing blood to mist around his eyes in a mask like form during combat, which inspires about as much fear into your opponents as setting your own beard on fire would.  There is only one Captain Bloodeyes at a time, and it is rumored to be a title passed on as opposed to just one person (otherwise, he has been alive for about 200 or so years, which is doubtful considering the life expectancy of a pirate).  The actual book will go more into how they do it (which includes clockwork grappling guns, creative cannon use, and overall rapier sharp wits) but I wanted to give you a small taste of what they do and what it is like this world.  There are islands known to harbor pirates, and if some of the larger noble families were to ever find out extinction would probably be upon them quickly.

Now onto my next poll:

What would you like me to write about next?  Here are my choices –

a) Ok, you said your artist was awesome, so do something about her.  Give her an interview, show any of her art relating to this series, highlight her work however you can.

b) So I here you are talking to other authors.  Give them an interview, I want to know some of the people you have been talking too, and more about what they do too.

c) Reveal more about the world. There was some votes about the Allmother, go into that more.

d) I am stupid and want to hear you complain about formatting more.

Also I got some email about people impressions about the book who had never read it before, but I would love to see some in the comments to other than those who participated last time.  I am looking at you Dave. 🙂

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