Help Create a Character: Spek

Hello all.

Okay, so I’m in a place in my book where my characters are really starting to take shape and develop personalities other than the ones I’ve given them, and usually as I write, I like to create how they would look in my head. Until now, I’ve only posted sketches and rough ideas for any characters that I’ve created, but I’d like to get some input from someone other than myself (because my ideas may suck for all I know) in order to help make this book a reality. I’m going to post some concept art of a character that I’ve introduced in the book- Spek. He’s a Groar male that is dedicated to the assimilation of Groar culture regardless of societal differences.  He is like a lot of Groars- quick to anger, quick to help, quick to forgive, violent. But he is refined, intelligent, generous, kind, and noble. If you look below, you’ll see some of the concepts that I’ve been throwing around for him. Once you’re done with that, I have another favor to ask.

Okay, so that’s what I have. Not so good. That favor that I was asking you for- tell me how you think he would look based on the feel you get from his role in the story. Here are some excerpts of his lines from TCoU: Blestemul.

1. “One screeched and ran forward. Spek clenched his jaw and stepped to the side, dodging the first swipe with the creature’s machete. A huge strike with Spek’s right claw nearly ripped the creature’s jaw off. It fell, and Spek slammed his foot into its stomach, make his foe fly backwards into the swamp. He heard the monster smash into a tree and fall silent.”

2. ““Looking at your surroundings, reading enemy minds, feeding you intel. You’ll have to do everything else though. Spek tightened his grip on the totem sledge. “That’s fine.” His eyes stopped glowing, the light falling into the dark pools of gleaming tar.”

3. “Me? I educate tribals. It’s a personal endeavor of mine, I want my people to be united or at least understanding of one another. City Groars are accepting of different senitents, but tribals are isolated, and scared. All tribals are good people, they’re just misinformed about the outside world.” Spek clapped a hand on the chief’s shoulder. The Chief held a smile back, his eyes giving way to blue. Other Groars followed suit.”

I know a lot of this is outta context, so if you have questions, lemmie know. If this thing goes well, I’ll do it for all my characters. I think it would be pretty godamn terrific if I I got some help developing characters, and I would love to hear your suggestions and ideas. Please, tell me what you think! Help me make a good character.

Character Concept Art and More

As I trudge through the swamps of Urth with my mind and mouth open, I decided that I’d like to introduce you to a character of mine. Well, two to be exact. I refer to Alistar and Kone and Jala a lot, but if you’re not reading the book, you’re prolly a lil’ lost. So I’ve decided that I want you to meet a few of my characters before we continue on. The first picture is a quick and rough sketch of Alistar Crowne, the main good guy in the novel. Take a look:


This is how I basically wanted him to look. He’s got muscle, but he’s definitely got fat, too. I wanted him to be imperfect. He gets winded. He get’s discouraged. He gets angry. I also changed his appearance a little more too. I didn’t want him to have dark hair any longer, so I changed it to dirty blonde. It’s also a little bit longer in the novel, and his frame is bigger. He’s more of a graceless bruiser than a agile duelist. I added a gut too because I have a gut, and I still get around. Except for the hair color and length, if you’re still doing the math, I modeled his figure after my own because well. It’s easier to understand and write about something that you live. I rarely make characters that are perfect. They always have a problem, or something they don’t like to talk about. Not a secret mind you (some do, some don’t), but something they’ve done that they’re ashamed of, or the like.

Another thing that can be important when developing a character regardless of what genre you find yourself in is giving dimension. There are many ways to give dimension to a character, such as hobbies, speech patterns, how they interact with the living beings around them, how they approach/solve problems, etc. My favorite way? Have a good character do something out of character. Like commit a rape, murder, or theft. Alistar has plenty of things he doesn’t like to talk about, but he does anyway because his personality, and his conscience, won’t let him stay silent. He’s boisterous, intelligent, and jovial. He can also be cruel, savage, and merciless. It’s all about dimension. Also, I like to illustrate what I find strong about the character obtusely. Try having them do something a certain way that forces readers to look inbetween the lines. Do you have any tricks or tips you could share? I’d love to hear em’, trust me. I’m always learning. Anyway, Alistar’s best buddy is a man named Konemies, or Kone for short. He’s an Ironsoul- an individual who is part machine, part organic lifeform. Here’s some concept art for this fine gentleman:

He and Alistar go way back, and because of Alistar’s less than subtle push for free reconstructive surgery after a particularly nasty occurrence, Kone has become more human than man. That also means he has a lot of tricks up his sleeve, such as night vision, GPS map overlay, numerous engineering, maintenance, and weapon attachments to his mechanical arm, and so on. He used to be a terrific engineer- truly gifted with knowing the intricacies of machines, computers, and electronics. Just because, however, he doesn’t do this as a formal job any more, doesn’t mean he doesn’t do it at all. He is truly a gearhead, both physically, and metaphorically. Because of everything Alistar and he have gone through, he will follow his buddy to the ends of the Urth and back. I was thinking of maybe having them maybe be together as a homosexual couple in their past, but I’m not sure if I wanna do that yet.

Last but not least, I thought it might be good to show you where this epic yarn will be taking place. Below is a map that details that starting area, and explains the total area, of where the story takes place. Right now, they are in the volcanic swamps just past the Great Gash Mountain Pass. Take a look:

This map is only a lil’ outdated. I’ve changed a few things around since I drew this thing, but the basic gist of it remains the same. Alright then, I’ve about had it for today. Tell me what you think, give me your comments, all that bullshit. Bye bye.

Swamps of the Damned and the Groar

I’ve been waiting to write about this place all my life, to be honest. In one way or another, the next scene of my book was always going to be created because it was always a part of me. Our characters are navigating the darkest and most primeval swamps in this sector of Urth. Largely uncharted, it has one main path carved through it to the Groar capitol, and then on to Blunt on the other side (Blunt is a massive city in the book, think twice the size of NYC).

Bizarre creatures lurk within the black waters and foreboding shadows. Because of the dense canopy of vines, mosses, and leaves, it always looks like dusk inside the swamp until nightfall, where it is virtually pitch black. Cruel sentient creatures, called Lazgah, make their home in the swamps, along with a whole host of other deadly flora and fauna that make the entire place a huge deathtrap if you don’t have a guide to show you the way. Carnivorous plants, quicksand, deep fields of black tar-mud, active volcanoes, dangerous animals, bandits, smugglers, gangs, all take refuge in the unknown parts of the swamp. Here’s some art depicting some strange life forms our heroes will run across:

Lazgah weapons are at the top, but if you look at the lower right hand corner of the page, you’ll see a bizarre plant in bloom. Yes, those are teeth on its petals, and teeth line its massive saw palmetto like leaves down to the base of the plant. It grows between 7 to 8 feet from the base, but is not carnivorous. The teeth act as little tiny armor plates that help reenforce the tough outer skin of the thick and succulent petals.  To the left of the massive bloom, you’ll see plants that are a mix between amphibian and flowers. They are plants that utilize frog-like eyes, and are capable of watching things that pass by. They don’t really see too well, as they don’t have a brain, but basic visual data gets fed into the plant that tells it when to retreat its stalk, and when to stay vigilant. Don’t forget the massive snake, either. Huge and venomous. Think…anaconda with poison glands the size of gallon jugs. It not only bites, but constricts, making sure its prey dies quickly.
Our travelers also meet a Groar named Spek who helps them on their journey. Spek is a Groar that is on a mission to educate tribal Groars (individuals who live outside of the civilized world) in order to preserve their way of life, and to help understand life outside of the swamp. He’ll be showing up later in the story with a Totem Sledge, a special Groar weapon that is used in rituals, and it actual combat. It stands 6 feet tall, and weighs over 300 lbs. Take a look:

I also included a common Groar assault rifle, utilize a special cartridge that really tears into organic targets. Groar weapons are massive, powerful, and spectacularly ornate.

I’m fallin’ asleep I’m so tired. I’m gonna end this. As always you tight-lipped fucks, give me some feedback.

Lazgah Concept Art

Almost a hundred and fifty pages into TCoU:B, and the characters are moving towards the dangerous swamplands of the Groar and Lazagah people.  This book is one of the slowest I’ve ever written. Although not boring, I will admit that it can be a little dry. But this is a large tale to tell, and as anyone who has read a 1000 page plus fantasy novel, it takes a good chunk of time before the fuckin’ wonder begins.

Anyway. Our heroes are leaving the canyon where the Creature was found. After a merciless slaughter of evil men and women by the demonic reach of Blestemul, they continue on into the bizarre volcanic swamps, headed towards a Groar capitol, and then beyond. We’ve already discussed Groars here, but not the Lazgah are sentinents, true, but are too savage to be included in any type of modern society. Intelligent, but mostly in an instinctual and predatory sense, they have a basic language but mostly operate in tightly knit and organized troops. They are semi-amphibious, but don’t breathe through their skin. Heavily muscled, they have a bizarre anatomy the defies nature. Here’s a picture of some rough concepts:

And a closeup of the type of head I chose:



A few more concepts of the actual anatomy of a Lazgah:


They are adept scavengers and can often reverse engineer, or re purpose scavenged materials or technology. They can make surprisingly sophisticated weapons, favoring a super compressed blowgun tailored to exploit the advantages of having massive and powerful lungs. These darts are tipped in lethal poisons collected from creatures dwelling in their natural habitat. They are fond of throwing weapons, using their profound strength to throw such projectiles with incredible speed and force, far more than some human schmuck with a throwing knife. They will often utilize umbracells as volatile grenades, and as devastating traps. Here’s some concept art detailing Lazgah weapons:


And finally, some more advanced weapons found in the hands of Lazgah soldiers:



Okay, I’ll leave you with that. Got any questions? Comments? You know what to do.

The Creature in the Mountain Pass

I’ve reached a point in my story where I like to answer questions that the reader may have in an indirect way. I prefer to disguise these points in the ignorance of my characters. They ask the questions, and I find a way to answer them for everyone. It is annoying. It is not easy. And sometimes, it doesn’t work. But, when it does, it ties shit together nicely in a lil’ package I can call my own. Anyway, here’s the shit.

The characters of the story, Alistar, Jala, and Kone are all headed towards the next scene. And yes, I’m isolating those who read this by not explaining anything further on these characters, nor why they’re together, or what they’re doing. It’s on purpose. Anyway, they’re all headed towards the next scene, when Alistar gets separated from the group via a powerful and ancient being. The beast is never named, nor his species. He has fantastic powers and incredible stories to tell Alistar, many that validate humanity’s existence on the one in a billion shot we call Earth.

I wanted to create a being that didn’t make any sense. Creatures created out of the imagination are often based on things that we have seen before. Humanoid creatures, where eyes belong, head, tail, symmetry. You know. I thought in a different way. And I am not ashamed that I was inspired to break out of the way I normally create fictional beings because of Philip Pullman and his works.He created a species of creatures that defied symmetry and that’s what I sought out to do.

I tend to warp things. Twist them. The world is too normal, and it needs a dark slant, a sticky, sweaty mutation deep in the corners of the sane mind. So, I came out with this initially:

But that made too much sense. I decided to alter the creature more, and recently I came up with its final form. Take a look at this shit:

Much better. There is some symmetry, yes. But I mixed shit up in ways I had forgotten about. This being, this creature, is the link that provides a foundation for the rest of Alistar’s (the main character) motivations throughout the story. I had to make this fucker unique, and hopefully I didn’t fail.

What about you? Ever create somethingentirely out of your own head? Your own creature? Being? Race? I would love to know how you did it, and what it is. Don’t be shy. We’re all freaks here.

P.S.: This entry is short because I started to feel pompous when I was writing it. I wanted to stop my mind diarrhea before I started sounding like those I despise.

Progress on Kindle and Concept Art

I’m back. Great vacation- got some good time with the lovely wife and some good times at a massive theme park. Enough of that, let’s get into the shit right away.

Before  post concept art, I want to tell you all something. I bit the progress bullet, stopped being a whiny bitch, and opened my Kindle account for selling my books. If you’re at this stage, you can click on this link. It was painless, and now? I can start uploading m’shit. And you’ll all be the first ones to know when I do. Setting up a Kindle publishing account is easy as fuck. It’s just like setting up an e-mail account. Also, make sure you have your social security card ready, too.

Alright, with that exciting (for me at least) announcement out of the way, I wanted to continue with the explanation of plasmatic weapons in TCoU:Blestemul. While I was forty thousand feet in the fuckin’ air, I came up with some pretty solid diagrams as to how actual rifle would look. The first picture (the one below) is an outdated version of what the weapon would look like. However, its parts are all current. You see, in Urth, there are bizarre new elements formed after the cataclysm. These elements allowed the technology for such energy weapons to exist (I will cover ALL the elements I “invented” in a later entry). Enough. Here’s the art:

These are the basic parts to what a standard E.A. rifle would look like. I didn’t think the look of the weapon felt right, though. It looked too…primitive. Too…fragile. Basic. I mean, pick an adjective it just don’look right. So, I tweaked it and came up with a final concept for a basic E.A. weapon found all over Urth. Take a look at this shit:

Much better. Here, I detailed the furniture of the weapon rather than the actual internal mechanisms n’ shit. A protruding barrel didn’t make any sense to me, along with a defined seating for the weapon’s guts. So, I made an all inclusive model that keeps everything contained, controlled, and monitored. I made it look more futuristic (for lack of a better term) to satisfy any sci-fi tech cravings I had at the time. I also included some specs on the weapon itself, like rate of fire, projectile effective range, and so-on.

Honestly? I’ve been trying to develop a competent weapon like this since I was 12. I am 26 now. Only recently did I find the real science and facts I needed to mutate and bend to my will. It ain’t easy being inside my head, and I don’t say that because I think I’m special or unique. I say that because I have O.C.D., or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Ideas, worries, thoughts, they are always smashing around in my skull, and the urge to constantly improve my fiction and make the ideas I present inside my work as plausible causes me to create something like this. Sometimes, I think talent is just another word for obsession. Do I consider myself talented? No. I’ve always seen myself as someone that loves the creative process so much, that I can’t stop doing it. Is that talent? Okay then. I’m talented. But I think a more appropriate term would be obsessed.

Alright then, another post down. I want FEEDBACK. You. Fucking. Tools. Speak up! Good and bad critique (as long as its constructive) will be read, considered, and responded to. Don’t be silent. Tell me I suck, or tell me I’m awesome, as long as you have an actual path of reasoning behind your opinion, I will not ignore it.

TCoU: Blestemul Concept Art for a Demon

How do?

TCoU: Blestemul, my next novel, is going along nicely so far. I’m at a little bit of a lull point in the story, you know where you have to build shit up before you bring the axe down? But hey. I’ll get through it, you’ll get through it, and then the good stuff will happen. Anyway, without revealing too much of the story, Blestemul is a very unique demon that shape shifts according to what instrument it can do the most damage with in conjunction with its chosen host (Alistar Crowne, the main character of TCoU:B in this case). It is a demon of pure rage and violence, but is surprisingly smart and sometimes supportive in times of need. Blestemul is what makes Alistar’s “quest” possible, which I will not reveal.

I went through a LOT of different concepts for this fuckin’ thing. I mean a lot. More than what you see here. I needed to get the perfect melding of beast and gun metal to make this thing look right. I wanted something sinister, but not completely without familiar qualities. I also wanted something that was much more than just an enchanted gun. If you’ve ever played the video games Shadowman, Devil May Cry, or Shadows of the Damned, I didn’t want this stylish weapon that looked cool and made a big racket. I wanted something that reflect a demon’s true form. Blestemul (which is Romanian forcurse) fit the bill. Also, if you played Shadows of the Damned, I didn’t copy the talking gun. In fact, I was quite pissed when I found my idea thrown out there already, but its my fault for not moving when I should have. Anyway, here’s one of three sketches I did for Blestemul:

I was having a little trouble with the overall form here. And Blestemul looked too…inorganic. So, I tried to change this up a bit and add more demon meat to the pistol’s furniture. I also removed the clip- it just didn’t fit into what I was trying to create. Here’s number two of three:

Now I have too much organic, and not enough metal. I was supremely frustrated at this point, and I’m pretty sure I took a break before I took another crack at it. If you’re an artist, there is nothing more frustrating when you’re trying to complete a piece than to watch it mutate into an image that was not in your head. Here’s the third and final picture, and Blestemul’s true form:

That’s what I’m talkin’ about. Here, I decided to add a gaping maw at the muzzle. Quite literally, this is where an odious and long tongue shoots out from under the weapon to grab, crush, and shove enemies and obstacles aside. If Blestemul really wants to get nasty, the demon reels in his victim, and the weapon’s mouth expands for a bone shattering chomp that is fatal and degrading. The tongue is not only a weapon. It is prehensile, meaning Alistar can using it like a grappling hook, and it can get “sniff” the air like a snake to see if there is anything of interest around. Also, it can be used to molest a target which saps the very life out of their bodies (if the abuse continues), reads their minds and memories, and makes them sick (Blestemul’s saliva is thick and yellowish green, like mucus) via slow poisoning. Symptoms include migraine, vomiting, fever, aches, severe hallucinations (auditory, visual, olfactory), and death if the dose is high enough.

Blestemul has a unique personality which is an ongoing development in progress. Many demons are stereotypically liars and deceivers. So is Blestemul, but he is also honest and supportive when he needs be. He is a tormentor, even to Alistar, as well as a valuable ally. He is a contradiction, constantly weaving all around him into a web of lies and truth, love and hate, anger and peace, that only he can read and understand. And let me tell you, it is FUN. To write as Blestemul.

Alright, that’s all for now I think. Comments? Questions? Lay em’ on me, you know I’ll answer. Got any characters you love to write for? Draw? Let me know.

Final Cover Preview: Geneslave

I finished it!

I was worried initially about how this cover would come out, but I am pleased. This is what the cover will look like when I finally upload this sucker to Kindle and get it ready for the market. Take a look:

I am very proud of this. I don’t care what anyone says. Doesn’t mean I don’t want feedback, but I am happy with this piece and how it will tie in with the novel as a whole. On standard sketchpad paper, I used HB pencil, 0.1mm black marker, and watercolors. Oh, and not the expensive shit. This was done on a budget. Goes to show you that you can make something you’re proud of with your own two hands and not have to abide by anyone’s rules. Does that mean what I do is right for you? No, of course not. Do whatever you want. But if you’re like me? There is something satisfying and vindictive about doing whatever the flying FUCK you want when it comes to creative control of your own work.

Enougha that shit. I don’t know when I’ll get it ready for Kindle- I’m shooting for this week. But when I do, you’ll be the first to hear about it. Oh, I may be posting stuff for Blestemul in between now and then, so stay turned for that too. Keep writing, signing, playing, drawing, painting, dancing, punching, eating, bathing, flipping, and fucking, do what you want and do it well. Just do it responsibly.

As always ALL forms of serious feedback is welcomed. I will respond to your comments.

Cover Art: Geneslave Part 2

Hello there again!

Geneslave’s cover is almost complete. I should be able to finish this bastard over the weekend. Here is what I have so far:

Alright, this is stage two of the cover process. I decided to add some ink into this to make the lines more defined. I love you, 0.1mm markers. Anyway, this is where I am. If you have any questions on what the cover means, leave a comment. I’ll answer. Please tell me what you think and why- good and bad.

Cover Art: Geneslave

Hello again.

My other job was calling, and if I didn’t answer, then well. I’d be fucked. But, you aren’t reading this for excuses, and I shall not give them to you. If you’ve been wondering why I haven’t pulled the trigger on Geneslave, it’s not because I’ve lost my nerve. Quite the opposite, actually. I’ve been developing a cover for the book that I would upload to the document when I Kindlefy it and get her ready for the market. I have a habit of rushing into things that I am excited about, and when I look back, I realize that things are missing. So. My wife suggested the development of a cover. At first, I was resistant. I wanted to put Geneslave out and I wanted to put it outnow. But, she helped me calm myself and look at the bigger picture. I thought about doing a cover, but I didn’t want to spend the time on it. Now, I’m glad I did. Here’s what I have so far, and I’ll keep posting the cover as I work on it more and complete it.

I know what you’re thinking. This motherfucker needs to hire an illustrator. And you’re right. But, the first and foremost problem is I can’t afford one. And I need one that will have the same level of passion for Geneslave as I do, and that’s hard to find free. That, and I’m starting to see why it’s important for me to draw the cover myself. This entire endeavor has mostly been under my steam. A good 95% of it if not more, and you know what?I don’t want someone else drawing the cover to my first published work. So whether it sucks the dick, or blows the gods, I’m making my own cover. What about you?

Do you illustrate? Would you illustrate a work you’ve created? Do you think about the cover art to your novel? Let me know, I’d like to hear about it.