More Book Updates!

Things get epic as the deadline to getting the second draft done gets closer. So, things are changing, and I’m going to tell you some of them.

1. Dragons are officially no longer in the series. For a fantasy writer, maybe this seems pretty weird, but it’s true! I decided I wanted to change things up quite a bit, and so while we are going to have winged lizard-like creatures, they most certainly are not dragons. It’s very likely they’re not even going to breathe fire. However, they are going to be able to change their colors. And they are called noggards. Yes, I’m not always very creative.

2. Familiars will now be in the series! No, they aren’t reporting to the devil, but they’re there! They can communicate and practice some basic magics. You won’t see much of them in the first books, but they definitely play a part in book 2 and 3 as of right now. And the first one is going to be a froad, which is a lot like a toad, and somewhat like a frog, but mostly like a chameleon.

3. We are way closer to getting the teaser trailer done. After many months of searching, we finally found an actor in the New York area, and we weren’t even looking for one at the time! We were going to do it all by animation, but it looks like God had other plans. His name is Sonny, and he may just become our face of evil. And from what I heard, he is super pumped to be doing this. But now I feel bad about him only being seen for about twenty seconds. I feel like he needs to do more. We shall see.

4. The main country of the book is now by the water. This means the mountains may no longer be mountains. They may just be really big hills. In fact, this country may even be a peninsula. This means there could be some epic fights on the water. No, there ARE going to be epic fights on the water. Pirates are in order.

And that’s really it. I haven’t come up with anything terribly exciting otherwise. Have a good weekend!

Mapmaking and Podcasting

The mapmaking continues to go well. I spent a night on Skype discussing with the illustrator how we want to go about that. We may stray from the regular old-style, and we may not. It’s not quite determined, but we are looking at Lord of the Rings and Eragon for ideas. We also found out that the country in question is, as it turns out, a peninsula. It also turns out I’m an idiot at night. I somehow got East and West mixed up, jumbling up the entire map until the very end of the Skype call. I’m trying to write a book for gosh sakes, and I can’t even get East and West figured out. Goodness. I need to get my life together.

But the map is coming along, and looking better than ever. We have decided to measure it by kilos for now. Most of the world measures things that way… except the USA. Oh, ‘Murica – so determined to do your own thing you ignore everyone else on the planet.

Finally, the podcast. What do you guys want to see in the future of it? I could always use some changes, some additions, a template, fan questions, etc. Also, would it be easier if I made a different blog for the podcast itself? Be sure to let me know, and check out the podcast that is already there!! See the thing below and comment ‘fer sher.

Jersey Boy

I apologize. As it turns out, if I say I’m going to be back and doing things more often I tend to not be back and doing things more often. So maybe I should just say I won’t be on more often? I don’t know. So to fix this up, I’m making a HUGE blog. Like I might get to 1000 words, y’all.

Two excellent things have happened since I last blogged. One is that I got a chance to go to Jersey. The other is that I found VampireFreaks. But let’s speak about Jersey first, basically because it is the more exciting story of the two. I’ll split them up by bold words.

Jersey Boy

I went to Jersey with the intent to go see one of my best female friends of all time and hang out with her at ROTC ball/banquet, as she is still in high school. I definitely did get to do that, although it was super hectic up until that point. We were an hour late, the ball was an hour late, I wasn’t clean shaven, I don’t really dance, no one seemed to know what was going on, etc. Nonetheless, the ball turned out excellently. I learned that it is apparently a thing at fine dining to applaud by whacking a spoon against the table. Maybe it’s just an American thing. I learned that slow dancing is super awesome. I learned that my gaydar is not 100% accurate (no, you do not have to be gay to have a gaydar). More like, 95% accurate. It was only my second time being wrong. And finally, I am glad that I was homeschooled most of my life. I had forgotten how ridiculously drama-filled high school was. Seems like everyone hates everyone but secretly is nice to them.

After the lovely ball and a couple pictures, I headed back to meet up with a friend from college who had also come down to Jersey for the ROTC event. I found out that, although he never speaks of them, he has four cats that roam the house and two more that run around outside. You think someone who is that much of a cat person would have mentioned something about it. But no, I didn’t know a thing until I walked into his parents’ house and found a great fuzzy creature rubbing up against my leg. Then another. Then another. And another just stared at me.

The next day, after a great deal of fun and a board game that’s the halfway mark between “Cards Against Humanity” and “Apples to Apples”, I got dragged to his church. I can’t say dragged, really, as I was interested in what they did, but it was quite the experience. It was the Baptist experience.

We’re a non-traditional church… our pues aren’t even wooden!

For those who know nothing of the baptist experience, let me explain it to you:

  1. You walk into the church and everybody just kind of walks around, trying to find their family’s pue (because God forbid they change their bench once in a while), and then without any warning the worship band gets up.
  2. Now, they start out with the first song, which is typically just a rawer version of a song that you hear on Christian radio stations. Their version of rawer is putting the same words to a slightly different tune minus the drums. This way if you think
  3. you actually know they song, you’ll find out you don’t, because they riffed the one section that you can normally rock all by yourself. But now you’re just like the rest of the old people who’ve never heard the song before.
  4. After this, they do announcements. It would take much less time if they simply took out all the “God bless ’em”s every five seconds.
  5. After this, they ask for your money, whilst putting up a person who claims they can sing but everyone knows… they can’t. Don’t tell them that, though. You’ll be unholy.
  6. Then they return to music by singing a hymn most everyone knows, like, “Amazing Grace” or something.
  7. After this, they turn to those dusty little pieces in the way back of the hymn book that not even the guy singing really knows.
  8. Then they send up some older guy to talk about a bible story that most everyone knows, like David and Goliath, and you feel really good about what he’s saying. However, you’re questioning throughout the whole sermon if this guy is senile or not, because he’s repeating himself and people keep laughing anyway. Maybe they’re in on it.
  9. Then we repeat the last song because it was the easiest for the group to get back into. Typically, if there’s going to be some problem with the soundboard, it’s going to be now. But it’s the end of the service, so you don’t care too much.

And don’t think I’m anti-Christian at all by saying this. I’m a baptist myself and a Christian, so I can make fun of them all I want.

It was a good last day, basically. Jersey is a wonderful place.

Vampire Freaks

Another thing I got a chance to do is find the goth social network. Yes, there is such a thing. I didn’t know what I was expecting when I first got on there, and it has been QUITE a ride since I started, but I can’t say I regret it. Yes, there were creepy first people you meet who are sex-crazy, but afterwards most people are quite nice about it. I met some artistic people, some more writers, some just very kind people and others who are trying (and succeeding) in getting me involved with all the social network stuff. I now have a snapchat due to them, which is sirgabrielpenn is you ever want to find me.

The girl who got me started on snapchat is also teaching me Brazilian Portuguese. What does that mean? The South Americans fans are going to get info in their own language soon!

Speaking of Vampire Freaks, if there are any people on here who are part of it, we are going to make a page for the Soldier Chronicles if we can. The only problem is that it involves html and things, so to any fans who know HTML…

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 3.19.57 PM

I don’t consider that mean to geeks, as I am one. Oh, am I ever.

Book Stuff

For those interested in more book stuff, we have just started up the map. It’s just a sketch for now, which I have not seen as it’s my illustrator’s stuff, but it’s a big world. It’s a very big world, and by the first book, we haven’t even seen a quarter of what you’ll see by the end.

Also, we are considering bringing fetches into the series. They are the spectral images of the alive, seen soon before the alive become dead. And they may just be working with the protagonists. How? You’ll see. That’s the joy of a second draft. You can change EVERYTHING.

Anyway, that’s the end of my huuuge blog, hope it wasn’t too boring and that you enjoyed it!

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!

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:


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!