War of Nytefall: Eulogy is Coming this Weekend!

Cover Art by Alison Hunt

Only a few days until the War of Nytefall finale is released!

That’s really it.  I’m putting the finishing touches on everything and should announce it as early as Friday evening.  I’m going to send out the blog tour info to volunteers on Saturday after I get some rest.  It’s not too late to join in and help say good-bye to Clyde and the other Dawn Fangs.

Let’s have some fun.  For those who have read the books or the teasers, what do you remember most about this series?

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Teaser Tuesday: Building a New Steed

Cover Art by Alison Hunt

Today, we’re going to focus on Bob . . . Not as easy as I would like.  He’s a fun character to write, but he works best when used sparingly.  Also, best when he’s with other characters who act as his foil.  Still, he has some great scenes like this one from War of Nytefall: Lost.  Enjoy.

Continue reading

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New Release! “Wreck of the Lanterfish” by C. S. Boyack @Virgilante #newrelease #whattoread #writingcommunity #mustread

D. L. Finn is a wonderful author and one of my Story Empire colleagues. She’s generously offered to lend me her site today to talk about Wreck of the…

New Release! “Wreck of the Lanterfish” by C. S. Boyack @Virgilante #newrelease #whattoread #writingcommunity #mustread
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Questions 3: Filling in the Lost History of The World

Poneglyph from One Piece

In the manga/anime of ‘One Piece’, there’s a character named Nico Robin.  Her goal is to find these large blocks of stone called Poneglyphs.  They tell a variety of things, but there’s one that is supposed to hold a span of lost history.  It covers what’s called the Void Century or Blank Period, which nobody knows anything about.  This is a really cool subplot, which doesn’t get nearly enough attention.  It also got me thinking.

Robin’s quest is much like world-building.  You have your starting point, but a lot of gaps to fill in as you go along.  Every story adds to the world.  Not only in locations, but the past of those areas and the surrounding lands.  You learn about ancient wars, great heroes, old villains, and other colorful additions that make your world feel alive.  Thankfully, it’s much easier to find your world’s Poneglyphs when you’re the one creating them as they’re needed.  Personally, I think this is one of the most entertaining parts about world building, especially in fantasy.

Huh . . . This post was supposed to be longer, but that point was pretty clear.  Guess I’ll switch a few things around and make this a Questions 3 post.

  1. How much of your world’s history do you design before writing?
  2. Do you think minor details (local tales for color) are important or should be left out?
  3. What is one piece of advice you’d give your younger self or a new author in regards to writing a history for their world?
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Happy Hanukkah 2021! (Nope. I’m Not Early.)

Needless to say, I was shocked when I checked a calendar and saw Hanukkah started November 28th and went until December 6th.  Guess we’re really trying to escape the gravitation pull of Christmas this year.  Anyway, enjoy some funnies while I celebrate over here.  Not as many as I would have liked though.  Stopped scrolling the Yahoo Image search after the 3rd pro-Nazi meme showed up under ‘Hanukkah Funny Meme’.  Yikes.

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Goal Post: Guess I’ll Try Again Next Week

First:

War of Nytefall: Eulogy will be released next weekend. Email to volunteers will be sent Friday evening.

Well, that’s pretty much the extent of my writing progress this week.  I tried to use last Sunday to design the 4 main characters for Phi Beta Files, but it didn’t go so well.  The cold weather, busyness at work, and general life stress kept causing me to fall asleep next to the notebook.  I managed to finish only 2 of the characters, but I might have to redesign them because I was groggy.  This time of year is always a pain because the cold and stress makes it hard to focus.  Maybe I’ll have a better shot next Sunday since I feel like these characters are the first hurdle.  Not sure if I’ll go into detail on the others since the books may run similar to ‘Bedlam’ structures.

Rest of the week was spent handling things at work, which was kind of busy since we were heading into the Thanksgiving weekend.  Had to help my son get things ready for school too before the break.  It resulted in me not getting to relax until around 9 PM and that was just passing out.  One of these days, I’m going to make it longer or have the energy to be somewhat productive until 10:30/11 PM.

Just won’t be in December since it’s fucking freezing.  Something is wrong with the heating system, so the house gets cold quickly.  This is mostly at night, which is why crawling under the covers and trying to stay warm is my go-to activity.  Being so cold results in my brain having trouble focusing and my body lacking energy.  I mean, I’m sitting here writing this blog at 7 PM on Friday night and I’m trying desperately to stay awake long enough to meet up with some friends later.  It’s just difficult because I’m getting drowsy and cold.  Hate winter.  To be fair, I hate temp extremes in general, so summer isn’t fun either.

On the plus side of everything, I got all of the January blog posts done.  Well, I didn’t get the ‘Top 5 of 2021’ set up since it’s too early for those.  That takes some of the edge off my stress when it comes to this blog.  I may start in on February to create a bigger cushion, but I need to figure out Tuesdays for that month.  The teasers are getting repetitive and I don’t know if I should try to grab more.  I was thinking of opening the day to anyone who wants to promote their book.  I’ve done it before with not much success, but maybe I’ll see if anybody is open to it come January.  It’s something that may help people out if they need it.

Nothing else to really say.  We’re seeing ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ tomorrow as a family event.  S’mores and fun tonight with friends.  It’ll be a nice bit of fun before stepping into the 4 weeks without a day off.  Television viewing wasn’t that interesting with ‘Cowboy Bebop’ (definite yikes) and season 2 of ‘The Great’ (really good).  I think I finished ‘Food Wars’ as well, but I was dozing in and out of consciousness most nights.  That’s another reason I’m rewatching ‘Trigun’ and saving newer stuff for when I’m feeling better or the heat is fixed.

Got nothing exciting going on other than the book release.  It’s Hanukkah, so presents are wrapped and menorahs are taken out.  Potato latkes will be made next Saturday, which is a fun and greasy tradition.  Beyond that, I’ll be working, parenting, and seeing if I can get in any notebook time.  Wish me luck.

Goals of the week:

  1. Parenting
  2. Working
  3. Staying warm
  4. Releasing War of Nytefall: Eulogy
  5. Hydrating
  6. Notebook work
  7. Tinker with an outline if I develop any energy

Could it be depression doing this to me?  Probably should consider that’s a bigger factor than the cold and stress.

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7 Tips to Using Flight in Fiction

DC Characters

From the picture above, you can see how many ways there are to fly. Wings, flying mount, technology, wind, magic, simply going, and the list continues.  It’s probably one of, if not THE, most common and popular special ability in fiction.  So, what are some things to consider?

  1. You don’t really have to explain how the character flies if they simply have the ability to go up.  People will wonder, but you aren’t obligated to do so.  If you do then you may inadvertently limit the power or make it seem less plausible within the rules of the world.  For example, if the character can fly because they’re strong enough to resist gravity then everyone with super strength should be able to do so.  It also doesn’t explain how they can hover or move around like a plane.  Just be careful with your explanations and don’t think you really have to.
  2. Flight is more than soaring into the air and traveling.  Remember that the air is thinner and the temperature is colder.  A character who can only fly and has no protection from the elements won’t be able to go higher than birds.  The further away from the surface they go, the closer they are to the icy, suffocating grip of space.  That’s another thing to toss in here.  Eventually, they can hit a point where there’s no gravity or any forces that will normally help them return to Earth.
  3. Wings . . . They get in the way when in tight places.  If the character has them and can’t put them away then they need to operate accordingly.  Either they’re careful about moving around or they have a way to keep the wings restrained.  Yet, this would be like tying up your arms, so a character can demonstrate a discomfort with this necessary action.
  4. Flying with a passenger isn’t as easy as you think.  First, the character needs the strength to carry the person.  Flight doesn’t grant them the ability to lift a heavy person, so catching them will cause both to plummet.  At best, they can slow the descent to a safe speed, but this will also leave them open to attacks by any villains in the area.  So, think of ways that a flying character with normal strength can solve this problem before you throw them into it.  After all, they’ve probably considered the issue in their own world.
  5. If a flying character is knocked out while in the air, it doesn’t mean that they will survive the fall.  I’ve seen this a lot where a flyer is zapped, passes out, and falls from the height of the Empire Statue Building.  They’re not dead, which is weird since they don’t have enhanced durability.  A crash landing is the greatest threat for a character with this power, so either make it a threat or give a reason why they don’t have to worry about it.
  6. Wind in the eyes!  This is why some flyers have goggles, but people don’t usually remember this issue.  You have wind hitting your eyes between blinks, which can be painful and debilitating.  It’s just asking for the character to slam into an airplane by accident.  Think of ways they can avoid this problem since it’s one of the easiest to get around.
  7. If your characters flies using magic or technology then think about limits.  Is there a maximum amount of time before the spell or batteries wear off?  Once you figure this out, try to be consistent and don’t make it fail only when it’s dramatically appropriate.  This makes it feel like there’s no real limit and it’s only there to cause tension from time to time.  It’s easy to add this in too without making it a problem.  Just have the character charge the batteries while at home and doing something else.  It takes one sentence to recharge or recast here.
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Happy Thanksgiving . . . I Think

Time for holiday funnies because I’m busy with family.  Either interacting with them or hiding under the bed from them.  Could be both at times.

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7 Tips to Using Intangibility in Fiction

Shadowcat

This is a power that fascinated me when I was younger, but I stopped paying attention to it as I got older.  Intangibility is what it sounds like.  A person can pass through objects like a ghost.  It seems simple and designed entirely for thieves because they can get into any building.  So, I lost interest until this (things really start around 1 minute):

Let’s get to the tips, but I’m probably going to use Mirio as an example for most of them because he’s amazingly well done.

  1. This is a terrifying power to have because of its greatest flaw.  If used improperly or control is lost, the character can (and really should) start falling through whatever they’re standing on.  This means falling out of any vehicles while they’re moving, through buildings from the upper floors, and even into the earth.  Authors tend to avoid this issue because it brings up a question of how they didn’t die when it first showed up, but that can be chalked up to a mental defense mechanism that cuts the power off when in danger.  This does NOT always work if a stronger character loses full control.
  2. Two things I never considered with intangibility are breathing and senses.  It makes sense that air wouldn’t enter intangible lungs and light can’t enter intangible eyes to create vision.  You can come up with reasons for these to not be a probably such as allowing oxygen directly in from the surrounding area.  Same goes for light since the two are not solid like what the character normally goes through.  Still, downsides like this can help limit the power of a character who is technically unstoppable.
  3. Psychic powers should still work.  Intangibility is only of the body, so the mind shouldn’t be protected by this specific power.  There can be some loopholes such as the character moving out of time or dimensions by a hair, but that should also mean that they can’t communicate with others.  If you’re going to have them become immune to psychics then you need a really big tradeoff.
  4. As you can see, intangibility at a higher level doesn’t always mean the entire body.  A character can practice to make part of themselves solid while the rest is ghostly.  This allows them to accomplish actions that require intangibility AND interacting with the environment.  For example, slipping a leg through a wall to trip a guard without exposing your whole body.  Reaching through something to type on a computer without entering the room is another.  Get creative since the human body can be split up in many ways.
  5. Yes, it’s funny for a character to phase and lose their clothes.  Don’t overdo that joke and try to keep it tasteful.
  6. Since intangibility is only the ability to pass through things, a character using it in combat needs to know how to fight.  Mirio is powerful because he knows how to fight even without using his quirk.  He’s developed a style that uses it to his advantage, but the moves are still part of a martial arts school.  For example, a character with intangibility can throw a punch, which passes through the skin to hit the liver directly.  This requires precision, knowledge of anatomy, and training to deliver the blow quickly.  An untrained hero might clumsily pull it off by surprise, but an experienced enemy will be ready once they see the power.  Combat training is where the characters can gain skills to handle hand-to-hand.
  7. In a world where intangibility is a known power, there should be defenses against it in terms of weaponry and security.  More than likely, someone with this ability set out to be a thief or broke into a building.  That means, advanced security systems can come with barriers designed to stop intangibility.  Same goes for guns, which may fire energy instead of bullets for these characters.  Keep in mind that these heroes and villains don’t cease to exist, but simply pass through objects.  They are some kind of wavelength or whatever you want to say to show they are still around since they can be seen.  So, it’s not surprising a scientist or organization found a way to counter it and make a fortune in the process.
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I’m on the Voice of Indie Podcast

Something to be thankful for: if you’ve missed my nuggets of wisdom and anecdotes from Greece and Scotland, don’t despair. I was invited over at the …

I’m on the Voice of Indie Podcast
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