GENESIS: Bk1 of The Kingdom Come Series Reviews

GENESIS: Book One of The Kingdom Come Series (All Reviews)

 Ok, Now they're all in one place: Amazon, B&N and Goodreads :) Amazon Customer September 29, 2016 5/5 A great read wit...

Sunday, April 28, 2013

It just keeps getting better and better!

Just when you thought it couldn't be so long and involved, here's another rundown for the cover.

Angela to me:

"So now we've gone one step further using the sketches we've made so far.

Other things to take note of: The rays of light within the Vulcan around Jak's head are to be needles and diodes and not rays of light at all. Also, on the back cover you might notice rough patches of white floating about. These are meant to be embers from a flame 'off camera' that are floating into the foreground.

The distortion of rays radiating from around the Vulcan are meant to have that 'bleeding' effect, which moves into the back cover over Duward some.

Sadly, I don't think there's anything we can do about the Vhendo being covered by text on the back aside from having a very short back blurb OR doing an extreme close up of his face and not showing any supporting characters at all.

****This issue has already been fixed****

Otherwise, the placement of everything else is how it is intended to be on the final, with the final image to be far more detailed and polished.

What say you?"


We're getting closer and closer!

So, that looks pretty awesome! Right?
Yea, it's pretty awesome!
We're not done.

Angela to me:

"Righty, so an amazingly helpful artist friend of mine critiqued the cover for me and gave me some ideas in a paint-over that I wanted to forward along to you.
1) The overall values have been pushed.
2) The the text has been simplified, so it integrates more with the image at this moment.
3) The angle on the face off with the Vhendo has been changed so that it's been pushed down to miniature to allow for text space.
I like the addition of little lights inside of the Vulcan's innards as well. Adds more to the tech feel."



Angela has since taken the critique, modified her original and now we're working on colors.
It's coming along so nicely.
How awesome is this cover going to be!


To learn more about Angela and her work http://www.angelicshades.com/

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Jak Hartlen

Wow!

That's all I can say about this sketch.

Angela to me:

"Alright then! Time to see how our luck is doing!

(We only had to re-concept one character and that's the evil nasty Duward and Lady Sedi will be facing off against...which, well, I'm going to keep to my self for now. Sorry.)  

Here are some preliminary sketches of Jak.  I went with a long-sleeved woven shirt and cloth pants with the only ornate design being his sword/scabbard.  This is without his jacket, since it won't be included in the cover...."




****To learn what the image on the sheath is, you have to read Genesis****

So what do you think. Is he too pretty? 
I tried my damnedest to scruff him up with scratches and dirt.



(We had a long and successful conversation about characters being too good looking. Too fit.
Lets just say Jak doesn't have washboard abs. His muscles are from natural, job-specific labors—which he'd only do till the job was done. He doesn't "work out". Honestly, I find that kinda stuff silly. I mean, how often are the heroes in these stories going to the Gym?)

I was a little afraid I'd made him too old, but I'm glad it matches the maturity that Jak has gained after all is said and done by the end of the book.


(Also, by this point being depicting, Jak is caught in the middle of a battle field. People are dying just outside where he is. He's considering the weight of it being all his fault.)

I figured you might like to know that from an artist's standpoint, I took the rugged appeal of Karl Urban, but combined it with that more idealistic charisma that Heath Ledger exudes. Christian Bale was helpful as a reference as well, though I relied less on him, as he strikes me as a tad more imbalanced and sinister."


My reply to her besides how much I like it:

"I always consider the line from Interview with a Vampire,

1791 was the year it happened. I was 24, younger than you are now. But times were different then, I was a man at that age: the master of a large plantation just south of New Orleans. I had lost my wife in childbirth, and she and the infant had been buried less than half a year.

This is not the language or life of an average 24yr old today.

Nor is Jak's life normal to his age group today, but unlike Louis though, Jak wasn't born to wealth.
His life is harder.

Also, per the difference between the beginning of the novel and the end, this Jak fits well.
His physical age (which might seem harsher here given the roughness of the sketch—will likely be smoothed out when you do a final rendering) can't be compared to that of a 20yr old today. Jak's life before, during and at the end of Genesis is very taxing."


So, what do you think about Jak?
I'm so excited to see how it all comes together and I hope you are too. 

Duchess Milena Sedi

Another Art update.
It's late. I know. I'm sorry.

Angela to me:

"Here's another round of rough concept sketches for you!  This time tackling Lady Sedi's basic look. I went with a sort of shawl-style cloak that would still show off the rest of her outfit, which is a dress over trousers.  It's rather simple, since it seemed to me she'd favor a practical look."





Now this one is short and sweet given the experience Angela has with drawing women.

She nailed it.
To see what I'm talking about http://www.angelicshades.com/

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Do you write outside your current genre?

This'll be a very quick one.

Answer: Yes and No.

I think I covered the complications of such a question in the post "What sorta fiction is this".

I'll add—I don't think I'll ever write just a straight-up romance novel, political thriller or w/e, without at least some sorta "supernatural" or "strangely fantastic" element to it. Why would I, if those aren't the sorta things I want to read?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

2 Questions Sir

These are the two I've learned all authors are asked:

1) How did the idea for your current novel come about?
2) Where does the inspiration for your ideas generally come from?

First
The serious idea for my novel (the series at large) came from a concept I had for a video game; little more than a few character names now remain. It then spilled into writing. I flushed it out over time while Role Playing with friends—bouncing ideas off them in the process: characters, settings, themes, monsters and so on.

When they didn't like something, I pointed to the guide books.

The first thing I thought of was characters, specifically the baddies. I love heroes, but they're nothing without their opposites. That's why I love villains even more, because to me, every villain could've been or in fact was, a hero.


I love the concept of Evil, not because I'm diabolical—I mean I am—but because in order for my heroes to have the 4rth dimension to be real, their negatives must also exist to such equal standing.

In very few books I find Evil fully explored. The degree from Bad to Good often ending in varying shades and varieties of Gray, instead of barring out the full measure and unique quality of Evil. And for good reason, it's hard.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKzM8xsQ5-U

In most cases, you can relate to the antagonist. Sympathize. Understand them through context, which is great. If so though, I no longer see them as villains, but instead, tragic characters, of which there are plenty throughout my series.

Aside from those, I strive for stark lines of contrast. Boundaries from which there's no return or sympathetic justification; things, ideas, beings, which are truly Evil and which will always be feared. Their threat never, ever, lessened by context or distance.

This is something I think is far easier to do in Fantasy and Science Fiction, as opposed to non-Fiction, since the supernatural, alien, mythical and so on, are perfect targets for this.

For every writer, I'd like to thank all the evil characters ever created. 
Without you, we'd have no stories.

Second

Well, the easiest answer is my inspiration comes from everywhere, which is true...as cheesy as it is.

I see things in movies, TV and the internet. I read it in books, hear it on the radio and so on. Then I have to name it, shape it and that's where the flesh and bones comes from. Sometime to my own horror.

I don't know how many pages I've written because I was inspired by something, only later to read it and throw it away because it isn't me or it's too close to what inspired me. That's the biggest problem with inspiration.

Thinking about it now, my biggest inspiration is all the stuff I trash or my wife trashes or my friends or anything I'm unable to explain away. Because, when I finally find something I like enough to keep and even if I'm unable to say why—not always able to put a finger on that it—that suggests to me a deeper connection.

It's like art.
I'm no critic, but I know what I like and when I do, I don't feel like a fake. Also, when I like it enough to keep it and it still reminds strangers—reminds is key, cause imitation isn't the best form of flattery—of something else and it's a good thing, then I feel good.

If it's like this, I feel bad:

"Me and the McDonald's people, we've got this little misunderstanding. See, they're McDonald's. I'm McDowell's. They've got the golden arches. Mine are the golden arcs. They've got the Big Mac. I've got the Big Mick. We both got two all beef patties, sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions. But they use a sesame seed bun. My buns have no seeds."

I love that movie!






Duward!

Sooooo, it isn't exactly that I lied.
Yes, I wasn't sure if I was going to do another art update, but now, after seeing Angela's work, I pretty sure I need to show it. You can't blame me or be mad at me, I mean, you can, but, what'd you going to do....you know you want to see it too.

Angela to me:

"Here are the first of four very rough sketches to knock out the overall look, feel, color options, for the characters.  I started with Duward, since his description came first and he's a bit more complex than the others due to his anatomy.
 
 
 
The 1st pose is a rough anatomy base to get an idea of how Duward's posture is when on all fours. 
 
The 2nd is when he might be standing up straight (his legs are in extreme foreshortening, which is why his lower legs might seem ultra short).  
 
The 3rd's a basic facial sketch to define his look.  I've given him a bit of graying hair in the ends of his beard and in the chops area.  

I am thinking those trousers are more capri length that stop mid-calf with a split in the sides to allow him full mobility. 

Since his back will most likely be to the viewer, as we have in the cover's thumbnail, I think his short jacket would be an excellent place to have a sigil or symbol of some sort. Perhaps we can add the owl/moon emblem to his jacket's back?
 
****To learn what the Owl/Moon emblem represents, you'll have to read Genesis****


Duward was tons of fun for me.
I'm too used to drawing pretty womenfolk so he was a pleasant change of pace!"

I love her last lines the most. Glad she had so much fun.

To learn more about Angela and he work http://www.angelicshades.com/



Thursday, April 4, 2013

What sorta fiction is this?

Easy enough right?

Let's start off with the basics.

1) Dark Fantasy
wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_fantasy 




2) Science Fiction: moderate Steam/Dieselpunk (in Genesis), with a sprinkling of Cyber that's streamlined within a particular group/caste/region within the Kingdom Come series, but you'll just have to read it to see for yourself.
wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_fiction


wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk



wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberpunk


Ok, so take all of that, think of it like a buffet.
Got it? Good.

As you can imagine, that buffet would be FREAKING HUGE!!! There'd be no way to cram it all into a cohesive plate and no matter what, certain thing would stick out as odd—ya know, much like the person who gets all fried food, no salad or vegetables, but a huge portion of cake. Yep, we've all seen that person and we've all been guilty of it.

So, with that in mind, I picked what was most important to me. From looks (how it would visually translate on the page), to the historical and geographical realism (as those things relate to the culture of particular peoples throughout my world)—all of that equating to a little of this and a little of that until I had something I felt was satisfyingly mine.

How exactly I did this and where I drew the lines for which people, place and things—including combinations within what subgroups? That's something I'll cover in another post likely when the book is published, that way, I don't ruin anything before hand.

Finally, after all that, I'll let you in on the question I hate most as a writer...

What genre is this? Is it mixed?

AHHHHHHH! But now that you've beefed up your knowledge or were already well equipped prior to reading this, you tell me.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Why I write and where the Why came from

The answer is just as easy as the question.
Because it's who I am and what I'm meant to do; which isn't to say I couldn't or don't like to do other things, but this one thing drives me. And I'm not talking about punching keys—though that's very enjoyable, especially when you get a good rhythm going—or jotting down words on w/e bits of w/e happen to be close enough to grab.
I'm talking about storytelling.

Storytelling
Its always fascinated me. It's sad to say, but I'm almost positive kids don't use much of their imaginations today. When I was a kid though, action figures were BIG! All the shows promoted them and you had to have them. You know the ones...






But even before that, when all I had was Army Men, I made up stories. It's odd, even now thinking about it, I realize how complicated those quick stories in the dirt were. It was never simply just Tan vs Green. There was drama, sabotage and many of the little guys had names. Sooner or later though, a lighter, Black Cats or M80's got tossed into the mix—war's hell ya know. Though by then someone in my family found me: I think that's why plastic smells when it's burning, 'cause you know they could've made it odorless.

So I'd play with my toys; devise elaborate stories, play out what I'd seen in cartoons or read in comics. I think I did this off and on sometime into middle-school or maybe my freshmen year in high-school. Either way, it was about then when I got the best present EVER: Super Nintendo. Boom! Shortly there after, I got into RPGs. Now, of all the video games I've ever played, RPGs hooked me. I could actually control characters and make them do the awesome things I'd been imagining!
It was amazing! However, as awesome as those visuals were in those great games that still hold fond memories for me...


...My imagination couldn't be shut out and eventually came roaring back.

Reading (sorry, this is going back in time a little)
I wasn't always a reader.
In elementary-school, maybe nearing middle-school age, I remember buying books at the book fair, but only because Batman or Superman were on the cover. Those were the Choose Your Own Adventure books. Not sure if I ever finished those. Honestly, the first book I ever finished was part of the Worlds of Power series and only because of a video game my friend had that I LOVED: Mega Man 2—I wouldn't own a system of my own till much later.


Anyway, after Mega Man, I picked up the second book I ever read: Dracula. It was awesome, but I have to admit, even though I knew the name, I picked it up cause of the fantastic dark cover. It was the one where Dracula's sitting on a throne and there's a wolf next to him, I think? Couldn't find it, but maybe someone will find it for me so I can then update this post?

Thinking about it now, aside from comics, I kinda only read thereafter when I needed to for school.
But later in high-school, just when my love for reading suddenly turned on a dime—following me ever since—about the time I devoured the Red Wall Series http://www.redwallabbey.com/, I stumbled into a group of new friends.

From that mix of new minds, a powerful thing was born...



Role Playing
I wonder how many Fantasy/Science Fiction writers ever Role Played some Pen and Paper Game?
Maybe someday I'll know. Hell, maybe some day I'll get to play with some of my fans and/or favorite authors.

Naturally, I quickly became the DUNGEON MASTER. I loved it.
Over the years, we upgraded from simple stories and characters, to great, huge adventures; one which took about 3+ years to play out.

Yes, that adventure was fueled by the Grand Daddy of all RPGs:


As in all things, the better I got, the more new people wanted to play, the more I heard how much fun everyone was having—even if I killed their characters. I have to admit, sometimes it was a lot of fun doing it.

Eventually, I was spending many hours a week (high-school through college; at work or when doing other things which should've required my full attention) thinking up plots and characters and all the rest. I filled notebooks of information on characters, setting, worlds, history, weapons, and on and on...

Finally, one day, when I realized how much of everything I was creating on my own, that was it.
I was done. I knew then I had to find some way to combine my love of history/reading/storytelling into something I could do for the rest of my life.

Some years later, I'm now a published author at http://www.downwarden.com/blackbedsheet/

There you have it. 


2nd Art Update

 Ok, so we're already moving into the final stages, but here's an email from Angela to me:
 
 
"Thumbnails have finally arrived! 
 
Before you take a look at them, I must preface your experience by saying that they are very basic and undetailed at the moment.  I am still hammering out the specific look of the individual characters (which she is doing now) and rather than spend ages designing each one, but then possibly not using them, I want us to decide who should go in this image first. So by that notion, everyone, save for Jak, is a very basic silhouette placeholder, with my intent to define the space they'll take up and where they should be able to fit first. Once we decide on our winning thumbnail, then I will go about doing sketches to define the final characters.
 
 
The thumbnails for the most part show three variations for potential front/back cover setup. 
(Other promo materials will also be taken, rearranged from these images.) 
The front cover images are pretty self-explanatory as the centerpiece with Jak in the Vulcan.  The back covers require a little more explanation...
 
****To learn about the characters/creatures mentioned blow, you'll have to read Genesis****
 
The 'Close Up' Back Cover Variant (1, 4 & 7) - For this back cover, I've chosen a close-up of Kalijah, with visions of the Vhendo interspersed between wires and winding tendrils of darkness expanding from The Vulcan.  I chose Kalijah because she is a very visually striking character, especially her eyes, and I feel her image would give the viewers a sense of the world of your book because of her 'alien' nature.
 
The 'Face Off' Back Cover Variant (2, 5, & 8) - Two characters face off with the Vhendo.  I personally envision these two characters to be Duward and Lady Sedi. Both have a very unique look, again providing some context of culture and visual appeal for your world.  I suspect Duward's pose will change—he's the foreground figure—to show more of his apelike method of walking and demeanor.  Numbers 2 and 5 show them facing off with a humanoid Vhendo riding another beastlike one, while 8 shows them fighting one giant menacing creature.
 
The 'Last Stand' Back Cover Variant (3, 6 & 9) - This back cover features an aerial shot of two characters standing their ground against a swarm of Vhendo. I envision this to be Hamid and Kalijah fighting back to back during the confrontation towards the end of book 1. Again, they have a great visual presence to them and would be a way to pique your reader's interest with the culture(s) of your world.  I also think the top left corner that's filled with Vhendo peeking in from the Darkness would be a great place to sneak in The Eye of -------------- as a bit of foreshadowing.
 
Other Random Thoughts - I had thought to include Jak holding his father's sword in 1, 2 & 3...it's a very striking image, considering the King Arthur-esque symbolism of a 'sleeping king' about to wake up and rain down some ass whoopin'."
 

Awesome, right!
Depending upon certain things in the future, not sure how much more art I'll cover in the blog.
I don't want to give away too much.
 
 
Remember, you can see Angela's work and learn more about her at http://www.angelicshades.com/