Sunday, June 29, 2014

Writing Meme - Author Life

Hey everyone! Today we're doing a Writing Meme! We'll be exploring some questions about the life of an author. I did this meme a long time ago on an old blog, but I figured it'd be fun to try it on the new blog.

This is a tagging meme, so at the end, I'll tag some lovely authors out there so we can get some more awesome answers.

Let's get started!

1) What is the title of your next book/work?

In the interest of the book that is NOT yet out, we'll be working on that one. The current title of my book is The Stolen Defender. It's the first book in the Zyearth Chronicles series.



Currently in the series, I have 27 novels and 6 short story collections planned. =D Quite a lot of work to do! We'll see if I actually keep all 27 (the later book summaries get a bit hazy) but for now, that's where I have it. 

2) Where did the idea come from for the book/work?

Honestly, Sonic the Hedgehog! The books originally started out as Sonic the Hedgehog fan fiction. But it was really weak fan fiction. I didn't usually have Sonic in the stories. I just used a few basic elements from the world.

You can learn more about the characters histories as Sonic characters by looking at the Character Creation section of the blog.

3) What genre does your book/work fall under?

It took me a long time to figure out these genres. There's a few actually.

First and foremost, The Stolen Defender is a little between Young Adult and New Adult. Young Adult fiction usually centers around teenage main characters and often have happy endings. New Adult is usually for older characters, which mine are, but New Adult is well known for usually having sex in their books. Since I avoid sex in my writing, I'm not sure how well I fit into New Adult. So I'm kind of a mix.

Second of all, the book is urban fantasy, set in a futuristic world but characters use magic. Think Harry Potter.

And third, the book is anthropomorphic, as all the main characters are anthropomorphic animals.

I suppose since they all started out as Sonic characters, it's fitting that they're now fully anthro animals.

The book also fits into little categories too. It's definitely adventure. It also has a little mix of sci fi, since there are other planets and space travel. Finally, there's also a mix of military fiction, since the Defenders are a military group. 

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I've been working on the Zyearth world for so long, that I put together a list of actors ages ago. After all, what author doesn't dream of having her books on the silver screen some day?

Since my characters are anthropomorphic animals, and I'd likely have to have the movies in CGI, I'm mainly looking for voice and motion capture skills here. Let's take a look! 

Matt would be played by Matt Austin of Power Ranger fame:

I've met Matt Austin in person several times and not only is he a fantastic person, he has the exact personality and voice I'm looking for for Matt. A perfect mix of hilarity and seriousness.

A lot of people tell me that if Matt was a human, he'd probably look like Matt Austin, so bonus points there. 
Rose McIver would play Izzy. I picked her mainly because of a line in (yes, again) a Power Ranger's episode.

"Can you guys do that again? I think I still have some hearing left in one ear." 

It sound exactly like something Izzy would say to Matt and a future friend of his while they were in an "I'm manlier than you" contest.

(I'll refrain from mentioning said friend's name to avoid spoilers. XD)

Other voice actors include Tom Hiddleston as Darvin and Keith David as Ouranos. Other characters are harder to find though. 

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

An invader from another planet comes to Zyearth, steals a Golden Guardian, and creates invincible monsters out of the inhabitants while the Defenders fight to save their home and their Golden Guardian. 

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I intend to self publish, but I intend to do it the right way. Hire and editor, hire a cover artist, and create and host a website and market, and do all the things a publisher would do for me anyway.

And hey, I got one part down:



7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Geez, the very first draft? That's hard. The first draft was role played with my friend Omni over the course of several months. It's a horrid draft that's not worth looking at anymore.

This current remake of the novel started three years ago. The draft I have now took about four months to finish. 

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Since I have anthro books, I'd have to say Redwall, but there's really not a lot I can compare this to. Which is both good and bad. Good because I'm pretty original, but bad because it'll be hard to attract a brand new audience. 

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

To understand that, you have to go way back to the creation of the original character, Izzy.

I originally created Izzy to show up my friends. (Find out more here) I also created Zyearth and the stories around it to show up my friends. But in doing so, I also found out I really loved writing.

As the years went by and I grew up, I realized that the world I had created was so large that I could take it out of the fan fiction world and make it its own world. So that's what I started doing.

I wouldn't say I particularly inspired by anything in deciding to do that. I just really wanted to. 

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

 - Epic world building
 - Interesting, likable characters
 - Magic
 - Time and Space travel
 - A mad man with a blue box companions.
 - Amazing battles
 - High stakes
 - Mystery
 - And even a little bit of romance

TAGGING TIME. I tag....

Michelle Scott and Kessie Carroll and Jess Owen and everyone on the Iron Sharpening Iron group. XD Good luck, guys! Have fun!  

Friday, June 20, 2014

Darvin Wendigo - Character Creation

Hey everyone! Welcome to a new...

Today we're going to do Darvin Wendigo!

And here he is!

Yup! Darvin is a very young character in the Zyearth world, so he doesn't have an extended art history. 

I created Darvin just three years ago and he was intended to be a very unimportant minor character. Buuut Darvin decided he didn't like that and made himself much more important than I intended. 

In fact, he's much more important than is even obvious in the first book. 

I came up with Darvin while I worked at Red Robin as a hostess. I needed a side character and I wanted a different kind of animal, so I asked one of my coworkers what his favorite animal was. 

"Stag," he said. 

Whelp. Stag it is. 

I picked black and silver because... well, I like black and silver. 

Darvin's name also came from Red Robin. One of my favorite coworkers, a busser I often worked with who was hard working and fun to hang around, was named Darvin. So without really telling him, I stole his name. But don't worry. I told him later that I borrowed his name. 

It all happened one day at work while I was blowing up balloons. Darvin walked up to me with a bus tub in hand.

"Hey, Darvin, guess what?"

"What?" Darvin replied.

"I stole your name and gave it to one of my characters!" 

Darvin raised an eyebrow. "Wow, really? What's the character like?"

"He's an anthropomorphic stag with black fur and silver antlers!" 

"..."

Darvin walked away after that. My coworkers started calling him "alien stag." I kind of regret telling him. o_o (Don't worry, we became friends again)

Darvin's design was a lot of fun to work with. Since he was such an unusual creature, I did a lot of research on anthro deer and came up with a few conventions. Hoofnails (tiny hooves on each finger), antlers, and digitigrade legs. Darvin's legs aren't perfectly digitigrade, but they're close. I love the idea of the hoofnails, so those were fun to design.

The major problem with anthro deer is the fact that they don't really have feet designed for standing upright. So I had to make Darvin's feet extra large. 

So that's Darvin! Have a question about his character development? Add a comment! 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Darvin Wendigo - Character Spotlight

Hey everyone! I asked for your votes for the next Character Spotlight and I got even votes for Darvin and Lance... but since Darvin was voted for first, he gets the first Spotlight. So let's move on to....

Name: Darvin Wendigo
Height: 7' (antler off season) 9' (antler season)
Species: Stag
Gem Specialty: Cloaking
Rank: Grandis Regini (Commissioned Officer)
Weapon of choice: Custom pistol with an inlay from a discarded antler.
First Appearance: The Stolen Defender

Darvin is the leader of the Defender Cloak Division and has been a Defender for most of his adult life. Cloaking is a rare ability. It allows the user to temporarily hide a zyfaunos' physical body, as well as body heat and sounds the zyfaunos makes. It's a difficult ability to master, but Darvin is especially good, hence his leadership position.

Darvin's family have been Defenders for generations. His father was a high ranking officer, and his brother, Roscoe, was also moving up in the ranks. Darvin takes great pride in his affiliation with the Defenders, and sees his position and his division as one of the most important in the Defenders, since they gather intel before missions and often save lives.

Stags are one of the few Zyearthlings that have semi digitigrade legs, meaning that they have large feet and they walk on their toes.

Darvin's antlers are like any normal deer's antlers, but they take longer to decompose when they are shed. Darvin often finds his antlers annoying. Darvin's brother, Roscoe, has an uncommon antler condition that prevents his antlers from maturing and therefore has exceptionally large antlers.

Darvin's greatest fear is failing those around him because his power isn't strong enough. He also fears losing members of his division, since cloaks are rare and he is very close to all the members of his team. Darvin tends to shoot first and ask questions later, which sometimes gets him in trouble.

Darvin's greatest strength is his self sacrificing nature and his desire to protect those around him.

Want to learn more about Darvin? Ask a question!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Natassa of the Athánatos Tribe - Character Creation

Hey everyone, and welcome to a new...

Today we're gonna look at Natassa of the Athánatos Tribe!

BLART.

Honestly, not too bad with the art... but she looks like a lighter Izzy-Sonic-Recolor character with some clothing from Skies of Arcadia.

Fina from Skies of Arcadia
To tell the truth though, I don't know if Fina was any inspiration for Natassa's original design, since, like Ouranos, Natassa originally belonged to Omni.

Natassa's original name was Vale, but when I picked her up, I changed her name to Reil. However, as time went on and I developed the Athánatos Tribe to be Greek themed, I picked the name Natassa, which means "resurrection."

Natassa's design didn't change much until very recently. When she did change, her appearance and colors changed, but I felt like she should retain some of the cream color in her design.

Originally Vale had silver eyes,but it looked strange when I did the new design, so she got purple eyes instead.

You'll notice that Natassa has the full set of Ei-Ei jewels. The final jewel, the Soul Jewel, is the same color as the user's eyes. The inner part of the ear is also the same color as the eyes.

Have a question about Natassa's creation? Ask away!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Natassa of the Athánatos Tribe - Character Spotlight

Hey everyone! Welcome to another...

Today we're exploring the life of Natassa of the Athánatos tribe!

Again, sorry for the bad art. Trying to get her faded snout down was not easy.


Name: Natassa
Height: 6'5"
Species: Athánatos quilar
Gem Specialty: Elemental - Weather Wielder
Rank: Pringkipissa (Princess) of the Athánatos Tribe
Weapon of choice: None
First Appearance: The Stolen Defender

Natassa is Ouranos' sister and the princess of the Athánatos tribe. Natassa is also a Weather Wielder, and a good one too. Like with Ouranos, she can also summon the eight Phonar phoenixes, but she dislikes doing so. Since Ouranos is their official master, she can hear Ouranos' screams of agony when she summons.

Natassa is taller than most females her age, and she's a bit self conscious of the fact.

Natassa was raised on Athánatos Island, though when she was older, she was forced to flee the island. She hasn't been on her home island for almost eighty years. She fights alongside a small resistance group trying to regain her place on Athánatos and stopping her father from destroying the species he's after.

Her biggest goal, however, is to restore Ouranos' soul to him. However, because she wears Ei-Ei jewels, she cannot enter the Shadow Veil where her brother's soul is hidden, and she cannot convince anyone else to enter the Shadow Veil either. She must wait and see what Draso has in store for her.

She is fiercely devoted to her people and her family, and also looks for her missing sister Alexina while fighting against her father. She also works hard trying to find a cure for the Kast, mainly so she can finally save her sister Isis.

Natassa's greatest weakness is her ability to work on her own. She struggles to fight or perform difficult tasks without help, which, in a time when she needs to be independent, is detrimental to her search for Ouranos.

Her greatest strength, however, is her unconditional love. With the right tools and people surrounding her, she is unstoppable.

Want to learn more about Natassa? Ask a question!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Focus Jewels Part I - World Building

Hey everyone! Let's take a look a new world building aspect of Zyearth - focus jewels! Our first focus jewel is the Lexi Gem.

In the world of Zyearth, magic is created by using focus jewels. There are several different kinds of focus jewels, but on planet Zyearth, Lexi Gems are the most common.

Lexi Jewels are bound to the user's soul and grants them several powers. Some powers are granted to all users, but most advanced powers are considered "gem specialties." Users are usually granted only one specialty, though a rare few have two. In the case of a duel specialist, both specialties are significantly weaker than those in a single specialist. Lexi Gems are usually about the size of a user's fist.

- Basic shielding. Shielding changes the molecular structure of the air and solidifies it temporarily.
     Average Gem users shield very weakly over tiny areas of the body, however, this form of shielding means that Zyearth never developed pot holders, since users shield their hands while picking up hot pots.
     Advanced Gem users can project shields and the strongest shielders can stop bullets.

- Basic healing. Healing accelerates the body's natural ability to heal by 10 to 100 times.
     Average Gem users can heal minor cuts and bruises. Average healers cannot heal disease.
     Advanced Healing is a Gem specialty only. Advanced healers can heal broken bones, major cuts and scrapes, and even minor diseases. Advanced healers are also invaluable in surgery and disease healing.

- Basic teleportation. Teleportation opens up a portal through which users move through to get from one area to another.
     Average Gem users can rarely teleport more than a few feet at a time and it's very draining on power.
     Advanced Gem users are still drastically limited in teleportation distance. Good teleporters can jump a few dozen yards, or perform multiple jumps in a short period of time, but most teleporters are limited to ten feet or less.

- Long life. Lexi Gems emit a low level radiation that harmlessly slows cell development, granting long life.
     All Gem users have long life. Those that don't have Gems can be granted the same gift of long life by Gem Sharing. Gems typically allow users anywhere from 350 to 400 years of life.

- Elemental use. Elemental powers manifest as either fabrication or manipulation, depending on the element.
     Only advanced Gem users can manifest elemental powers. They appear as one of two types. Fabricators create elements whereas manipulators manipulate existing elements. For example, fire is a fabricator power (fire is created by compressing and combusting oxygen molecules) and wind is a manipulator power (wind is moved by exciting air molecules).

- Cloaking. Cloaking tricks the minds and senses of anyone near a cloaker, making it difficult for them to see, hear, or detect the person or persons being cloaked.
     Only advance Gem users can cloak. Cloakers are extremely rare and make up only about 10% of the population.

In addition to these positive aspects, there are also negative aspects to owning a Gem. Female Gem users have fewer periods, ovulating every 3 to 5 years. Male Gem users generally have a smaller sperm count. This makes having children difficult, so most families still only have 1 to 4 children during their lifetimes. Because of this difficulty, and because local culture insists that sexual activity is limited to one marital partner, Zyearth never developed birth control.

Also, Gems eventually fade. Most Gem users die simply because their Gem stops feeding them power and fades out. Death essentially comes because of power withdrawals.

Finally, if a Gem is severely damaged or broken during a user's lifetime, the Gem user will die of power withdrawals.

Gem Colors.

Gems often take on the colors of their users in one of several forms.

Solid Colors.
Izzy's Gem
Solid color Gems take on a single color usually based on the primary color of the user's fur.

Cut Edge Gems
Matt's Gem
Cut Edge Gems typically take on the primary and secondary color of a user. For Matt, his main color is white and his secondary color is blue. Hence the clear, blue cut Gem.

Tint Gems
Lance's Gem
Tint Gems take on the primary color of the user, but the side changes color when the light hits it just right. Usually the tinted color is the color of the user's eyes.

Starburst Gems
Sami's Gem
Starburst Gems have a colored core, usually the color of the user's eyes. The primary color is usually the primary color of the user's fur.

Alternating Gems
Aric's Gem
Alternating Gems alternate colors on the cut edges of the Gem, usually reflecting fur or eye color.

Combo Gems
Jaymes' Gem
Combo Gems combine more than one typical Gem color element, usually starburst and tinting Gems.

Used Gems always have color, but unused Gems are called "colorless" Gems, and they reflect none of the light or polish that a used Gem has. Unused Gems can be used for power grids or they can be broken apart to create Gem shards for Artificial Intelligence storage.

And that's the basics about Lexi Gems! Have a question? Post below!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Ouranos of the Athánatos Tribe - Character Creation

Greetings friends and well wishers! Welcome to the newest edition of...

Today we're looking at Ouranos of the Athánatos tribe! Let's look at his very first form.

Derp.

And you thought Izzy was a bad recolor.

Ouranos has one of the more unique and interesting origins of those in the Zyearth world. For starters, I am not Ouranos' original creator.

"Omen" was originally created by Omni! Yup, the wonderful creator of The Stolen Defender's book cover. Omen quickly became Omni (which is where our Omni got his current nickname) and slowly evolved from there.

Omni didn't really change much design wise during his Sonic realm. He was basically a silver Sonic with paint in his quills and a jewel on his head.


One thing that did stay consistent though, was Omni's "eternal state." Almost from his creation, Omni lacked a soul, hence the lack of pupils in his eyes. 

Darn you, Omni and your perfect pixel art! =P
The original Omni was an Immorian, part of the Immorian tribe, and, like the Athánatos, they were immortal. Many of the ideas for the Athánatos came from the Immorian tribe (with permission of course) but their names changed as time went on. 

Matt and Omni never did like each other.


Eventually Omni (the creator) abandoned his Omni (the creation) and gave me permission to take it where I wanted it to go. 

So we got Omicron. 

Good. Gravy. 

Omicron was the first in a series of brand new pixel art techniques I tried to implement during my later years as a pixel artist. His character design though is... lacking, to say the least. Though to be fair, his current form kept several parts. Black fur, teal eyes, the Ei-Ei jewels around his eyes... that kind of thing. His name is a Greek letter, which, of course, didn't stick, but it did influence the Greek in the Athánatos later.

While I created the original quilar (Matt and Izzy) their design flowed so much easier. I didn't really consider the fact that I was making up a brand new species. But when I started doing the design for the Athánatos quilar, I was acutely aware of the fact that I was making a new species and this influenced the design. 

As much as I love Ouranos as a character, he never really got the attention he deserved art wise.

After this design, Omicron's design didn't really change much.

This was the next (unfinished) artwork that Omicron got. Omicron is the full bodied male in the corner. His sister, Natassa, is the full bodied female, and she'll get her time next week. The other two are Athánatos from later book series, but their ears are well designed, so I kept them.

The last design I did for Omicron came here. I tried going for a full design sheet to give a good idea of what an Athánatos quilar looks like.

By this point, Omicron's name was starting to feel inaccurate. So it changed once more to Ouranos. Ouranos is the Greek god of the sky, related to the Greek goddess Gaia, which, if you read The Stolen Defender, has a bit of a hidden meaning.



Ouranos as a character has drastically changed, not just style wise. He was the original mustache-twirling villain. Dull, annoying, no characterization at all.

And then I pitted him against the Aftokrator (later called the Vasilefs)... and things change dramatically. Ouranos suddenly became the character he really should be.

Have a question about Ouranos' design? Drop a comment!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Ouranos of the Athánatos Tribe - Character Spotlight

Hey everyone, and welcome to a new...

Today we're looking at Ouranos of the Athánatos Tribe, one of the main antagonists in The Stolen Defender

Sorry for the artwork, guys. I've recently decided that I need to work on my art skills, so I'm gonna be doing some basic artwork while I improve!


Name: Ouranos
Height: 7'0"
Species: Athánatos quilar
Gem Specialty: Elemental - Weather Wielder
Rank: Pringkips (Prince) of the Athánatos Tribe
Weapon of choice: None
First Appearance: The Stolen Defender

Ouranos is the Pringkips, or prince, of the Athánatos royal family. Like all Athánatos, Ouranos is a Weather Wielder, meaning he can manipulate or fabricate any element related to weather. This includes everything from earth (earthquakes) to ice (snow) and even fire. Ouranos, being royalty, also has the ability to summon the eight phoenixes of the Phonar Order of Draso.

Athánatos quilar are very tall, usually ranging from 6 to 7 feet. Ouranos is on the higher end of the spectrum and he's very proud of that.

While Zyearthling quilar use Lexi Gems as focus jewels, Athánatos quilar use Ei-Ei jewels as focus jewels. (For more information on focus jewels, stay tuned!) 

Ouranos, however, is unique, in the sense that he is missing his final set of jewels, the Soul Jewels. His body and mind are fresh and working, but his soul is no longer attached to his body and is currently trapped in the Shadow Veil, where Athánatos souls stay before passing on to Draso's Palace.

Ouranos was born and raised on Athánatos Island, the largest in a small chain of islands off the coast of California on Earth. During his life as an adult, a strange species invaded his island and killed his mother. His father chased after her killers and disappeared for twenty years. During that time, Ouranos ruled the Athánatos tribe. When his father returned, he relinquished power.

His father, however, declared a secret war on the species that killed his wife, and used his children as test subjects to create Kast. Ouranos rebelled against his father and led an uprising with other Athánatos royalty until his father captured him and ripped his Soul Jewels from his body. He uses the Soul Jewels to puppeteer Ouranos and do his dirty work. 

Over the decades, Ouranos had built a tiny level of resistance against his father's control, but he really started breaking through after his encounter with Matthew Azure. But you'll have to read The Stolen Defender for more information on that! 

Ouranos' greatest fear is losing his family. He cares deeply for his sisters and is willing to sacrifice anything to protect them. His greatest weakness is his struggle to hold on to hope. After all the years being under his father's control, he's lost all hope. 

His greatest strength, however, is his desire to set things right. In any brief moment of hope, Ouranos pulls on every ounce of strength he has and plows forward. 

Have questions about Ouranos? Feel free to ask! And check in on Friday for a new Character Creation based around Ouranos' development! 

Monday, June 2, 2014

My Writing Process - Author Life

Hello everyone!

Fellow author Annie Douglass Lima has invited me to take part in a blog hop of sorts, so here we are! Annie is a YA fantasy writer and world traveler. She and her husband currently live in Taichung, Taiwan, where she teaches 5th grade in an international school. Find out more on her website: http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com

And now, on to the questions!

1)     What am I working on?

Currently I'm editing the latest draft of my first book, The Stolen Defender, but I'm also working on the second book in my series, called Drifter. The first book changed a lot with this recent draft, so the second book also has a lot of changing to do.

2)     How does my work differ from others of its genre?  

Well for one, my book doesn't fit into just one genre. It's almost a genre in itself. It's got elements of science fiction, fantasy, military, and adventure books. It's aimed at YA readers. The main characters though, are anthropomorphic animals, so it fits into the "furry" or "anthro" world too.

3)     Why do I write what I do?

Ha ha, that's a very good question. It's not marketable, it's not mainstream, and it's not likely to make me any money or even any fans. But ever since Matt and Izzy entered my life, they've refused to let me go without telling their stories. So, here I am! I love it a lot, if anything. Writing is more fun than anything, and writing these characters is a total blast.

4)     How does my writing process work?

My writing process is... strange, if you count the WHOLE process. My characters originally started out as fan characters, meaning they were heavily based off a world completely not my own. Their stories originally started as "seat-of-my-pants" role play writing. My role play partner and I just let the world do whatever the heck it wanted and we ran with it. Pretty much all my stories have started out this way.

When I decided that I wanted to change my characters from fan characters to original characters, I spent a long time outlining and rewriting a brand new, fan character free draft. The first five novels in the series started off as loosely outlined NaNoWriMo novels.

After the first draft, I always send the novel out to beta readers. Really, anyone who is interested has a chance to read the book. Once I get beta reader info back, I apply it to a new draft, then send it to a professional editor.

The Stolen Defender needed a LOT of work in the early stages. It's so far gone through eleven drafts and five completely rewrites. Rewriting is the hardest part of the writing process. If I need a rewrite, I'll often ignore the old drafts and just keep the main themes because the old drafts tend to bog me down.

And that's my writing process! What does your writing process look like?

And I Tag.....

Michele Scott: https://www.facebook.com/thesilverdolphinssaga an author of amazing YA fantasy with a mix of anthropomorphic animals. Here's her DA Page: http://gneiss-chert.deviantart.com/ And her blog: http://thesilverdolphinssaga.blogspot.com/