The Street of Knowledge

October 31, 2019

So, it’s been a while since I’ve posted–hey, life happens.

The Street of Knowledge is one of the strangest, exotic, and, most dangerous places in the League of Elder universe. Outwardly, the culture and commerce of the Street is based largely on tourism. Even though the Street is located in the city of Vain right in the center of the austere Xaphan armada, the warm climate, unique cuisine, and breathtaking Great Xaphan Nebula lighting up the sky bring Xaphan tourists from far and wide.

Under the surface, however, the real commerce of the Street is minds, and/or the stealing and re-selling of minds, experiences, skills, etc. Vendors on the Street of Knowledge have developed technology specifically towards that end and have perfected it.  The Three Trades (the Russ, the AlbertCo and the Nightrobes) run the business of mind stealing, or “Vugging” as it’s known. Any person walking the street could be beset upon at any time, having their mind stolen by the Vuggers and then forced to buy back their own head.

Here’s a few brief terms before we continue:

Wonderland 1: Type 1 world in the heart of the Xaphan Armada, code-named Wonderland 1 in the League. The world doesn’t have a single, agreed upon name. The largest city on Wonderland 1 is Vain, located in the southern continent. The planet was thought to be a Planar World–one that appears from one place and appears in another.

Vain: Vain is the largest city on Wonderland 1. Throughout Xaphan space, Vain is known as a tourist destination, famous for an agreeable climate, amazing food, and unique sellable goods. The Street of Knowledge runs run the center of Vain.

Kopulate: (copy/duplicate)A person with an exact mental image of someone else’s head. A Kopulate pays to have somebody else’s head uploaded into their own–usually that of a person who is gifted, highly skilled, famous or wealthy. The Kopulate than believes they are that person. Kopulates can be a persistent and dangerous nuisance.

Pentagulle: Pentagulle is the wealthiest, most tourist-focused section of the Street of Knowledge.

ECSP: (Engineering Commando Squad Pentagulle) The city police of Pentagulle enforcing law and order in Pentagulle. In reality, the ECSP aid and assist the Trades as they go about their mind-stealing exploits, branding those to resist and/or fight back, criminals.

“Stinko”: nickname for a person who has had their mind completely stolen from their heads. Typically, all a Stinko can do is breathe and stand up if knocked down.

Slate: Term for a person’s mind, includes all of their experiences, knowledge, skills, traits, etc.

Smoque: An expensive form of nano-tech often used to incapacitate and drain a victom of their Slate. Smoque looks like ordinary smoke and is unmatched in the speed at which the draining can take place.

Squash: Nano tech capsules filled with liquid, Squash-dat can quickly upload pre-programmed information into a person’s head by simply breaking a capsule against a person’s forehead. Squash can make a person skilled in things the person has no training or talent for, can increase their sexuality, can make them bold, or masters of combat–anything goes. Squash is freely sold on the Street.

The Trades: Three sects who run the mind-trade on the Street of Knowledge. They buy and sell Slates, skills, experiences, etc no questions asked and enjoy the protection from the ECSP if challenged.

Vugger: A person or sect of people roaming the Street of Knowledge out to steal and sell Slates.

THE SECTS

Several Vugging sects rule the area of the street known as Pentagulle, stealing minds and selling them to the Trades on a daily basis.

snake head whore sketch2THE SNAKE-HEAD WHORES: The infamous Snake-Head Whores are known far and wide. They are incredibly brazen and aggressive. Despite the continued efforts of the Nightrobes to keep things quiet, word of their exploits have even drifted off world, though Xaphans generally disbelieve rumors of mind-stealing and other unsavory things going on in Vain.

They are known, and dreaded, for their ability to drain a person down to “Stinko” in mere seconds. They wear headdresses composed of robotic snakes with blinking red eyes. These hypnotic snakes can fully mesmerize a victim in just a few moments. They also make use of expensive Smoque, which can also drain a person’s head in rapid order. The Snake-Heads work in close association with the Nightrobe Trade.

The Snake-Head Whores hang out at the Enselaco Bar in the heart of Pentagulle. There, they often put on plays using Meat Puppets–horrific automatons they use to take control of past victims. With their Meat Puppets, the Snake Head Whores can take control of said victims no matter how far away they may be. The Snake-Heads made a Meat Puppet of Kat, the Countess of Belmont-South Tyrol and tried to control her, though they underestimated her wrath and ability to fight back.

ST. CRISPENS FIRE: Running a number of well-regarded restaurants in the Pentagulle area, St. Crispens’ Fire is a much more innocuous and less belligerent sect than the Snake-Heads. They are in direct partnership with the Russ Trade.

Any person dinning at their numerous restaurants is subject to getting Vugged, though The Fire is much less obvious about their Vugging activities, often quietly scanning and copying any experiences or skills they come across without any fuss made. The Fire rarely Stinko a person (unless under direct orders from the Russ), and mostly their victims come and go from their restaurants unaware anything has happened. They will, on occasion, blackmail any persons with interesting thoughts or memories if that person has the wealth to make the blackmailing worth their while. The sold images of people’s heads have created Kopulates, a mental duplicate of another person who can become dangerous pests.

VERTI-HOVI’S: Closely allied with the AlbertCo trade, the Verti-Hovi’s are well known for running “Verti-Hovi parks in and around the Street of Knowledge. Rounding up Stinkos from all over, the VH’s place them into these parks and also paying customers to do with them however they please, often Squashing them into horrible acts. Even amongst Vuggers, the Verti-Hovis have a soiled, lowly reputation.

–The Street of Knowledge appears in LoE, Book 12: Kat

copyright 2019 Ren Garcia

The 6th Turn: Kat

May 5, 2019

Kat cover Front FinalI’ve been wanting to narrative one on my books on YouTube for a long time, and I’ve finally gotten around to it. The book I chose to read is: Kat, the 6th Turn of the Shadow tech Goddess.

I chose to read Kat because I think it’s a pretty cool book. I put a lot of work into it and, of all my book, she gets the least activity at shows and cons because of her placement at the end of the Shadow tech Goddess series–people tend to want to start at the beginning.

So, every Saturday, I’m going to release one chapter at a time–I’m not a professional reader or voice talent, so I do my best.

copyright 2019, Ren Garcia

THE MACHINE 3The Killanjo started out life as “evil spirits“,  conjured by certain people with the usual intent of doing harm. Lady Sammidoran, the heroine of the Temple trilogy, was, in the first draft, a Killanjo spirit whom Countess Sygillis captured and held prisoner in a bottle. I didn’t like the direction that storyline took, so a got rid of it, transforming “Sam” into a Monama instead.

The Killanjo also changed. I needed a really nasty, creepy, and just plain gross group of henchmen-style villains, so I turned them into the bleeding, skulking creatures they became.

Here’s what I came up with:

KILLANJO: A mythical creature that has, according to gossip, been plaguing Xaphan space for decades. A Killanjo is said to be a hideous corruption of a loved one: a son, daughter, brother or sister who is then turned loose upon their own families to create grief and chaos. Killanjo are said to be able to cast spells that render Elder-Kind helpless. It is also said a Killanjo cannot bear to see their reflection, one that does awakens from whatever spell they have been placed in and, unable to bear the horror of their own form, kill themselves.

As I love to hear myself talk, I did a short video on them:

 

copyright 2019: Ren Garcia

We’ve been at this for what–over ten years now?? In that time, we’ve commissioned a literal ton of artwork from amazing artists all over the world. I created a short YouTube video  presenting some (but not nearly all) of the amazing pieces that have helped make The League of Elder what it is today, a deep, ever-growing mythology of words and pictures.

Enjoy!

 

Bowl Naked: RDG

copyright 2019, Ren Garcia

The Belmont Saga–Update

February 23, 2019

As we zoom along into 2019, The Belmont Saga, a compilation of Books 6 and 7 is nearly ready to go. The revised manuscript is totally done, though we keep tinkering. The Cover is nearly complete. The front is done–the back is still in progress. I suppose this counts as a cover reveal, though I never bother with those–when I get something, I share it immediately.

sands final-web (2)

Front cover for The Belmont Saga, by Carol Phillips (unlettered)

I did manage to get around to scribbling up a back cover blurb. So, here goes:

GET THE BRANDY TO BAZZ . . .

That’s all Paymaster Stenstrom, the Lord of Belmont-South Tyrol, has to do and the old Warbird Seeker is his. He has dreamed of captaining a Fleet ship his entire life.

Little does Paymaster Stenstrom realize that he is in the grip of an old Vendetta and the short trip to Bazz might very well be his last.

Faced with a dead ship and a lost crew, Paymaster Stenstrom finds help in the strangest places: the jail-jockey Marine and the milquetoast young man from the Admiral’s office, and, though he just became acquainted with these two strangers, he discovers they have been influencing each other’s lives for a very long time.

stenstrom sketch1003-update (2)

Conceptual sketch for the back cover, by Carol Phillips

Something sinister hovers over Paymaster Stenstrom and his two new friends, something they are only now becoming aware of. Is the Seeker about to become just another ship that set sail from safe shores never to be heard from again?

Sands of the Solar Empire and Against the Druries, told as they were meant to be told, as one book with a grand new look. In this tale of vile evil and hopeless terror, can new friendship and new love conquer all?

The Belmont Saga will feature over 70 interior maps and illustrations, some of which are all new. I really can’t wait for this one to be completed. The swashbuckling tale of Paymaster Stenstrom, Taara de la Anderson, Captain Gwendolyn and Lord A-Ram has always been one of my personal favs.

The Belmont Saga will be published in mid 2019 by Hydra Publications.

copyright 2019, Ren Garcia and Carol Phillips

The Belmont Saga

November 14, 2018

Of all the books I’ve published, Books 6 and 7 were the ones I’ve regretted the most.

Book 6When I wrote Sands of the Solar Empire, I introduced the LoE Second Series with a whole new cast of Characters including Paymaster Stenstrom, Lord of Belmont, Private Taara de la Anderson of the 110th Marines, Lillian of Gamboa, and, fan-favorite Lord A-Ram.

I wrote the book full of mystery, giving Paymaster Stenstrom all sorts of secrets at the beginning of the book, and then revealing them bit-by-bit in the second act leading to an exciting conclusion.

But, things didn’t quite work out like that.

Given Sands’ 200,000+ word count, I was compelled by my then  publisher to split the work into two books of roughly equal length. I ended up with Sands of the Solar Empire, and Against the Druries. 

Book 7The bad thing: I didn’t write Sands to be two books–I wrote it to be one long book, with the front end being more about discovering the characters I’d introduced, and the back half being much more action-oriented. Splitting the book down the center made Sands a very disjointed book, where I introduce the plot and leave it hanging butt-first to the wind. I even had to contrive a manufactured ending where none of the plot is resolved at all–a total face-palm cliffhanger, and not a very good one at that. Some readers didn’t notice the abrupt ending, but some utterly hated it and let me know all about it, with me having to give a tacit mea culpa, as I knew they were correct.  Against the Druries, being a much tighter, action-oriented story where the plot is resolved, was a much more well-appreciated book.

stenstrom-lilly-colorstudy4d (2) Red

Rough sketch for The Belmont Saga cover, by Carol Phillips

But now, under the Hydra brand, I finally get to correct that injustice and finally give Sands of the Solar Empire and Against the Druries the treatment they deserve and they will be republished as one book entitled The Belmont Saga. Finally, the story can be told as I meant for it to unfold, as one narrative with a beginning, middle and an end as all stories should have. Plus, the book will feature a brand new cover by Carol Phillips and over 70 interior artworks with some being totally new.

I can’t wait for this one to come out, as I’ve always dreamed to see it–one story, one book done up right, Hydra-style.

The Belmont Saga will be available in mid-2019 from Hydra Publications

copyright 2018, Ren Garcia and Carol Phillips

CBM: Old Lady Anabrax

July 4, 2018

After taking a hiatus of several years, we’re finally rolling on Carahil’s Busy Morning 3: Old Lady Anabrax. This time the illustrations are being handled by that amazing Canadian, Ewelina Dolzycka.

cbm-englishOnce again, the main character in the story is Carahil’s youngest daughter, Atha.  This time, the precocious Atha has incurred the considerable wrath of Old Lady Anabrax, the scary old lady who lives alone down the lane.

35192871_10155544182336367_3723343982541930496_nWhat does the giant old woman want with Atha? Only time will tell.

This outing is my favorite CBM story to date, one teaching  the merits of responsibility, accountability and, most of all, friendship.

It is, without a doubt, a bittersweet story that will tug on the heart-strings a little.

As with the other characters in the story, Anabrax is a character appearing in the League of Elder science fiction books. She was a member of the Celestial Arborium, and was often known as the Mole Goddess. It was Anabrax, digging through the ground on Kana, who happened upon the hidden Temple of the Exploding Head and was eventually killed by the Golden People.

CBM 3: Old Lady Anabrax should be available by mid 2019.

copyright 2018, Ren Garcia and Ewelina Dolzycka

Temple cover Cropped FrontAt last, the Temple of the Exploding Head Omnibus is available on Amazon. When I started this whole process last year, I figured it would be pretty easy to just compile the three books that make up the saga–The Dead Held Hands, The Machine and the Temple of the Exploding Head–and that would be it.

Didn’t quite turn out that way–creating this omnibus was actually pretty difficult and extremely time consuming. I might as well have started from scratch.

The whole Temple thing began life back in 2011. I wanted to highlight Lord Kabyl, the son of Captain Davage and Countess Sygillis. I wanted him to embark on a long quest, one where he would grow into manhood.

Temple Cover Cropped BackThe end result was the original Temple of the Exploding Head, which weighed in at a little over 300,000 words, which is a pretty big book. That said, I was forced into editing the book into three roughly equal parts that were published over the next three years.

Thing is, I never really liked it chopped into three parts. I felt it was better whole, as one book. Flash forward around ten years. The time had come to re-assemble it into one large tome, as it was meant to be. Re-edited, with the soon to be released paperback featuring over 100 interior illustrations from artists all over the world, the book is a complete quest from beginning to end, and something I’m quite proud of. It also features a brand new cover by Carol Phillips, the Queen of the League of Elder universe.

In the book is Lord Kabyl, a young man, the son of famous parents, trying to discover himself, his cousins, Lady Sarah and Lord Phillip, their friend Lord Lon of Probert, and Kay’s love, Lady Sammidoran of Monama, a woman full of secrets, and not all of them are pleasant. In fact, some of them are quite terrifying.

Below is my Ren Presents podcast where I discuss the book, the characters, it origins and my thought processes as I came up with the concept.

 

The Temple of the Exploding Head Omnibus is available on Amazon from Hydra Publications.

copyright 2018, Ren Garcia

 

 

 

REN PRESENTS

April 6, 2018

Ren Presents 1I do two things fairly well:

–Write 500 million word books.

–Talk.

I can talk. I can fill up space with my talking. Ask my wife. On our first date, she was totally unimpressed with yours truly, until I charmed her with my silver tongue.

That being said, I started a monthly podcast called Ren Presents, where I talk about writing, books, movies and any other thing that crosses my mind.

copyright 2018, Ren Garcia

Syg’s Statue

February 7, 2018

Mounted in a recessed nook at the north end of the Holt Courtyard in the Telmus Grove is a fifteen foot tall statue of Sygillis, the Countess of Blanchefort.

 

SygStatue

Statue of Countess Sygillis, by Rebecca Sinz

It was put there by the countess’ son, Lord Kabyl when he was thirteen years old. Created in six pieces and smelted in the Blanchefort’s old smithy of wrought iron and copper. It depicts Sygillis wearing her favorite adventuring outfit: a Hospitaler body suit and cape-like shawl. As Lord Kabyl’s father, Captain Davage, often said that the coming of the countess to the House of Blanchefort invigorated it with new life, he symbolized that thought by placing a water jug in the statue’s hand.

 

The Countess loved the statue, often taking her lunches near it in the courtyard. She even incorporated the water jug into her design logo and Coat of Arms.

It is not known who designed the statue, as Lord Kabyl simply computer scanned the image and had the pieces smelted in an automated factory, leaving the remaining work being to bolt it together. It is believed that Kay’s love, Lady Sammidoran, an accomplished artist, designed the statue all on her own, although it bears a strong resemblance to a statue of the old Vith heroine, Subra of the Mark mounted in her chapel in the castle.

The statue has been stolen on three separate occasions by the countess’ main social nemesis, Duchess Torrijayne of Olyn.  It was recovered the first time half submerged in the Withelwell River.  On the second occasion, the statue was found in a ballroom at St. Gala’s Veil, the home base of the Ballwigs. The Ballwigs did not wish to part with it, so the countess had to steal back her own statue.  On the third occasion, it was found in a school in the city of Rustam, where the children had taken to lobbing eggs and crabapples into the jug for sport.

After that, the countess enchanted the jug, turning it into an StT Pot, that would defend the statue from any further attempts to steal it.

In retaliation, Countess Sygillis defaced the statue of the duchess at her home at Grand Effington Manor. As the duchess was pregnant with her sixth child, the countess altered her statue to be immensely pregnant with milky water shooting from her breasts.

copyright 2018, Ren Garcia and Rebecca Sinz