Mapmaking and Male Bonding

I’m slowly feeling better, and now it no longer hurts to breathe. So thank you all for the concern. However, each time my roommate Kelechi walks into the room I start coughing again. Perhaps I am allergic to a mix of Kelechi and doors being opened.

I blame a mix of an excellent immune system and power metal for my severely rapid recovery. There’s nothing like the sound of a soul-shaking bass to get the blood flowing a little bit. That’s a good part of how I’ve bonded with a third of the males on this dormitory hall – gaming, metal and our love for the ’90s. I wish the latter wasn’t as much of a thing. It just so happened that there was a ’90s-themed night, and we all felt compelled to go the full mile. This involved me shaving my beard into a goatee based off Kurt Cobain’s facial hair. Now I miss my fuller beard. But it’ll be ok, I think. At least I got to show off knowing all the lyrics to the “Fresh Prince” theme. This is even more amusing because I know I can’t rap to save my life.

male bonding
Although I’m not in the picture, as I was still getting dressed, few can dispute that I was the best dressed.

In the meantime, I’m trying to get the things in my head out of my head and on paper. That involves not only doing more things with the second draft of the book, but also making a map. This may seem like a simple thing to most people, but it is not. Now I have to have actual distances, directions, relations and landmarks. I must officially decide what to call that mountain range from the beginning of the book. Black Mountains, Espya Mountains? Make them two separate things? I don’t know.

It involves math, too. That makes me sad. I hate math. I have to ask, well, how quickly was this guy or gal walking per day? How many miles or kilometers would that make? I then convert those mi/km to centimeters for the map, things like that. At least I’m not the one doing the epic drawing for it as well. It’s not that I couldn’t. Everything past the math is relatively simple. It’s the illustrator’s job, not mine. Hip, hip, hurrah for making someone else do the dirty work!

For those who also love fantasy books, what has been your favorite fantasy book map? Let me know in the comments below! Thanks for reading!

Race In Fantasy

I want to talk about a little thing called race today. Don’t worry, I don’t believe this will result in any rioting.

When writing fantasy, or any other book, do not be afraid to talk about different races. There is nothing that upsets me more than a book than only has one race of people because people are afraid to talk about anything else. Sadly, this is prevalent in much of today’s fantasy books. I’ve read quite a large amount of fantasy and even just regular fiction books where the protagonists are all white humans. Goodness gracious. The world is not just made up of white humans. Diversity is awesome in our world, why not make it awesome in yours? Basically, don’t be afraid to have more races than your own. If you aren’t, come up with a good explanation, or make up for it with different races of other creatures.

I think Lord of the Rings did an excellent job talking about this using the animosity between dwarves and elves. The two hate each other intensively for some time. Yet, there are those like Gimli and Legolas who eventually learn that they can enjoy each other’s company and even develop a friendship regardless of the matter of birth. They successfully talked about racism without having a single mention of skin color. (Not that there were any other ones than white, but the fact remains.)

Still, don’t be afraid to break the fantasy norm or even call attention to it. Have black-skinned elves! Have asian dwarves! Have Middle Eastern people! Have half-elves and cross-breeds! The possibilities are as endless as the universe you make!

The Cure for Everything

As much as I have tried to run from being sick, it has totally not worked. I probably now have the flu, based on the headaches and couching and lack of energy and all that fun stuff. A lot of people think being sick is a drag. Nope! Being sick can be fun if you make it awesome. For instance, soda’s carbonation helps alleviate headaches. But what’s an extra soda for good measure? Or two? I mean, we gotta keep the headaches away somehow. Plus I can stay inside my dorm all day, do nothing, and no one judges me.

Speaking of sodas, I’m not actually sure if the soda actually alleviates anything or I have become accustomed to doing so. Back when I was wee lad, my mother used to use Ginger Ale as the remedy to everything. She’s the real expert here, move over, pharmacists!

Stomach ache? Ginger Ale.
Puking? Ginger Ale.
Bad cough? Ginger Ale.
Sore throat? Ginger Ale.
Near death? Ginger Ale.
Broken heart? Ginger Ale.
Can’t drink liquids or you will be put into a coma? Ginger Ale.

And we could only use Canada Dry Ginger Ale as a remedy for some reason. I think Canada may just be magical in some way.

I only poke fun at my mother because I love her. It’s just the way our relationship works. We banter like this back and forth a lot. I also let her know I love her, don’t be too upset.

Also, the lack of energy means that I’m less apt to go full add on my assignments. Because of this, my assignments for photography class have improved drastically. I actually take my time to set up the shot, make sure it’s not blurry, get it in focus, and generally don’t treat it like a point-and-shoot. Now I have great results!

This guy looks like he's channeling the spirit of Thorin Oakenshield looking over his gold.
This guy looks like he’s channeling the spirit of Thorin Oakenshield looking over his gold.
I found out if you just wait on it you can get some really alive-looking water.
I found out if you just wait on it you can get some really alive-looking water.
You've never seen a happier dude than this guy after I took his shot.
You’ve never seen a happier dude than this guy after I took his shot.

So I’m actually pretty ok with being sick. I should be sick more often.

Now, for the book updates and stuff…

I officially have to think about where everything is on the map. It really distresses me, because now I have to think about things. I have to think about noggard (dragon-like creatures) flight speed. I have to think about walking distances. I have to think about where certain cities and landmarks are in comparison to others. Would the people of Jevruun have to walk through the Espya Mountains to reach their final destination? How did the armies of Gammas Va’El and Asynthandt not meet up on the way to Oriwind? Why did I make such ridiculous names for all these cities?

I’m sure everything will be easier when Annika and I begin the map.

Until that time, I’ll be chugging Ginger Ale, bundling up and enjoying the oncoming weekend.

University Reunion

So, I’m back in University after a long time of not writing much of anything. It’s great to be back! Much happened during the time I was gone, including Mum coming up with creatures from the book all by herself. (In reality, we just made some quick changes to dragons and called them nogards. So simple a child could do it, yet complete genius. My Mum’s a genius. I wish I hadn’t figured that out so late.)

Being back to school hasn’t been without its awkward moments. The most awkward moment involved me finding out my grades from last year. The less awkward moment was determining how to finish this year with… not that GPA. So that seems like it’ll be quite the adventure. Plus, I seem to be getting along better with my nocturnal roommate who I almost never saw till this semester. Turns out, he’s not completely mute! And from the five small talks we had, he seems like a neat dude.

Also, I’m going to start working out regularly! This excites me and terrifies me, because I’m super out of shape, and I remember how much I hated the process of working out while I was in shape. This should be a very exciting time in history for me, also a little adventure.

I think adventure seems to be a big part of this year. I’m heading out into new territory, to meet new friends and revisit old ones, to go new places and experience new experiences (like the experience of experiencing the snowboarding experience). Experiences.

Romance is trying to blossom, but me being happily single I keep trying to snuff it out. “What do we say to the god of romance? Not today!” It seems to be happening with a fellow writer, and even if it’s true that writers are also good lovers (not intended in the sexual aspect, but take it as you will), I’m going to try to stay single a couple months longer at least.

Maps are a big part of things, for those following the Dark Soldier book page on Facebook. We will soon be attempting a full scale map of the-land-that-shall-not-be-named. No, Voldemort is not from there. That would be a hilarious plot twist, though.

“Yer a magi, Voldemort.”

Also, speaking of the book and writing, I’m going to be doing a casting call! All y’all from the Upstate New York area are welcome to participate. Poster below:

CASTING CALL2

And that’s the end of tonight’s blog, sadly! I have little else to chat about. But tomorrow, I’ll be getting back into the fun stuff. Can’t wait, and thanks for being patient!

Thar be Ghosts

Today’s blog is going to be quite a change. Instead of me chatting about the book or college life, we are going to go into…

The place all schizophrenics go to die of a panic attack.

And we get to talk paranormal experiences! For those easily frightened, you might just want to skip this particular blog. I don’t have any really endearing paranormal experiences, so it isn’t something you would put your kids to sleep by. But if interesting is what you’re looking for, I think you’ve found the right place.

So, time for a ghost story!

It started when I was but a child. I was just waking up, when I suddenly found myself… not up. In fact, I felt tied down, unable to move. The only thing working was my eyes. I stared up at the ceiling when I heard a voice to my left.

“Good morning.”

I decided to move my eyes in that direction. I thought it was my mom. Turns out, it was not my mom. It was some thing. The thing was pure black like a shadow. In fact, that’s the closest thing I can use to describe it. It was not much taller than the bed itself, and I saw no mouth, but just two beady red eyes staring at me.

“Hey, kid… got any… eyedrops?”

I no longer wanted to look left. So I closed my eyes and prayed for it to go away. Turns out the answer was a “no”. I opened my eyes and there was a bit more than beady eyes looking my way. It was a short little mouthless humanoid freak with spider-leg fingers. It clung to the ceiling as it stared down at me.

Go away.”

I decided to comply. It didn’t take much time to decide that one. I rushed out in a panic and didn’t tell anyone for years later, until I heard someone else mention something called shadow people. Since then, I’ve had quite the interest in the paranormal realm.

After that little episode, I began to take a second look at things around the house. What if books randomly flying off shelves wasn’t due to drafts that weren’t even originating from the same vicinity? What if it wasn’t just a coincidence that every child in my room seemed to have similar stories to mine, sometimes switching the look of the ghost in the room? What i What if those glimpses of a white cat that walked through the house occasionally wasn’t me being completely schizophrenic? (That last one might be going on a limb. Our cat has just died, after all.) Suddenly there were completely new possibilities, although they weren’t always correct. But it gave me an open mind, one never to be closed again.

So what are your paranormal experiences? Let me know!!

Midnight Musings

I have been a bit of an insomniac in the past couple nights, so here’s a late night blog! I have no idea what’s about to go down in this blog, but here we go!

For those wanting to track the craziness, check out the 1 AM Tweets Facebook and Twitter that I made for other insomniacs. I may change the name to Insomniacs United or something like that if I get more admins.

With all the insane late night things going on, I decided to keep a record of my thoughts from the previous night, some of which I put on the Twitter I mentioned above. And the things that run through my mind are probably some of the most interesting things that I don’t even know if I can answer or understand to their fullness even in a completely awake state.

The gist of the first question I recorded is whether pure colors actually exist, even at the molecular level. At the time I was talking about chocolate because I love chocolate. Is chocolate really brown at all, or is it a rainbow of colors at the point of atoms? Can we really say we have a favorite color? (Mine are silver, black, and red, by the way.) Perhaps such questions are silly. After all, it doesn’t matter since it’s only light waves of different wavelengths.

The second question that entered my brain, which doesn’t work with just about any religion, was whether everyone on earth could be one person. This seems like an odd question at first, but consider it. If reincarnation truly exists, should it necessarily follow the laws of time? What would stop it from sending your soul back in time or even hundreds of years ahead of your existence? What if it went into the baby version of your child once you died? What if the souls of the two people who made you were in fact your own in different forms? I can think of many reasons why that couldn’t work, but it is an interesting theory. If I didn’t have a religion already, I would make that one.

The third question regards mortality itself. What is immortality? Is it not the ability to keep on living until something stops you? If that were the case, aren’t we technically all immortal? Think of the legendary vampires. Vampires, according to the legend, must be killed with a stab to the heart, a beheading, or being lit on fire. But wouldn’t that kill anyone? I could say the same for humans, really. “Well, they don’t die unless their bones just stop working under them, or they get hit by a car, or stabbed, or shot, or etcetera!” We’re all immortal until Death one days tells us we no longer are. That’s my philosophy.

Most of the rest of the questions regard what to do in the Soldier Chronicles, the series that I’m working on now. Thanks to recording these late-night thoughts, there are going to be FAR more plot twists, betrayals, and character quirks / developments than ever before! In this universe, nothing is surety to happen. The most good good-guys may become pure evil. The most bad bad-guys may become saints. And everyone is equal in the eyes of Death himself.

Thanks to these late-night ideas being recorded, I have planned all the way to the very last book (Book Four) in terms of plot twists. Not all of them have been planned, but a great deal of plot and twists have been planned already. The final one no one is going to believe that I planned this far ahead, so while I have been home visiting for Winter Break, I have asked my mother to keep the final plot twist hidden away so that I can prove it later. Indeed, the great game changer is already set in motion, and no one’s going to see it coming.

Except me.

I’m going to see it coming.

Probably.

And the rest of the psychoticness is recorded on my 1 AM Tweets page. Insomniacs are welcome to join. We shall rule!!!