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

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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

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.

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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

 

 

 

The Hospitalers

October 2, 2017

Hospitaler Logo

Seal of the Grand Order of Hospitalers

The Warrior/Healers of the League, the Hospitalers are an old sect, second only to the Sisterhood of Light in age. They are also the only non-Vith sect to achieve a very high position of power in the League. Originating on Onaris centuries ago, they started as group of fighting valets. They served their Blue Vith lords and were their trusty companions. Powerful fighters, the Hospitallers earned a reputation for their speed and fierceness in battle, they using a strange silver weapon called a Jet Staff instead of usual swords, pistols or axes.

 

At some point, on the forgotten wastelands of some battlefield, the Hospitallers began trying to attend to their master’s wounds. The Elder-Kind having been Gifted with youth and no disease had little need for medical knowledge and almost nothing was known about basic first aid. The Hospitalers, through persistence and practice, perfected techniques in binding wounds, clearing blood poisoning, re-attaching fallen limbs and so on. Their knowledge grew so great that even the mighty Sisterhood of Light turned to them for medical help when it was needed, sharing with them some of their most guarded secrets that the Hospitalers have never divulged. The Hospitalers have always worn black and silver.

There are a number of Hospitaler Sects that may or may not be well-known outside of the Order:

Hospitaler HopkinsThe Hopkins: General practitioners of the medical arts, often inhabiting healing sanctums in cities all over the League. The Hopkins are the most commonly seen Hospitalers. They are expert at most medical needs the general populace might present to them. They are well-versed at healing maladies of the flesh, blood poisoning, limb replacement, dental/orthodontics, hair transplantation and hair colorations, eye myopia corrections, tattooing, 4-D tattooing, and various exorcisms.

Throughout their history, the Hopkins have been targeted by a number of Xaphan Warlords hoping to impress them into service, as the Hopkins are vastly superior in knowledge and skill than the Xaphan Cabalists, who are widely regarded as quacks.

BoblytesThe Boblytes: The most warlike of all the Hospitaler sects, the Boblytes often serve on the battlefield, both in a fighting capacity and administering medical care while the battle is in progress. The Boblytes are well-known and prized for their martial skill. A small force of Boblytes can often defeat much larger fighting groups. Occasionally, their presence alone can prevent or postpone a battle.

Though mostly regarded as the military wing of the Hospitalers, the Boblytes have contributed a number of technical innovations, including the Troutman scanner for measuring blood poisoning and the Veltromax used to keep terminal patients alive until more comprehensive medical care can be administered. They also invented 4-D tattooing as a method for triaging casualties on the battlefield.

KnickerbaumsThe Knickerbaums: Knickerbaums are adventurous and outgoing, seeking to expand the Hospitalers’ medical knowledge through quest and adventure. Knickerbaums are often found serving aboard Fleet vessels, hoping to discover new knowledge and medical techniques.

Second only to the Hopkins, the Knickerbaums are the most well-known sect outside of the Hospitaler order. Their black and silver uniforms and winged silver helmets are often thought to be the standard wear for the sect as a whole, but that is not correct. Their martial skills are also considered to be second only to the Boblytes. The most mercurial of all sects, the Knickerbaums are known to be a bit temperamental to work with, often giving Fleet commanders fits.

EphysiansThe Ephysians: A mysterious sect within the Hospitalers seeking to expand their knowledge by means other than those allowed by the Sisterhood of Light. They are the most reclusive and least seen/understood Hospitaler sect. They are often tasked to test and validate new sciences, including Mentralysis, Anthecary, Bodism and Time Apparent.

The Ephysians are not known to travel much, except in rare situations, and their fighting skills are next to nil.

In their quest for knowledge, they are often said to share information and collaborate with unconventional parties, such as the Hertogs, the Ming Moorlands, the Black Hats and the Xaphan Cabalists.

The JonesThe Jones: A branch of the Hospitalers located on the world of Bazz, The Jones in the modern sense barely resemble the main branch of the sect. They were assembled by the Boblytes in the early days of Bazz after it had been terraformed into a Type 1 world. They are named after a hero of Bazz lore: Darius Jones. With the passage of time, they have diverged away from the Hospitalers.  Their appearance is bizarre, looking nothing like other sects. They are deadly in battle and are masters of fast hypnosis.

It is said The Jones seek a being called Bellathauser, a creature whom they believe to be the pinnacle of human perfection.

copyright 2017, Ren Garcia and Carol Phillips

HeartofALion_CoverStephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker based out of Lexington Kentucky. His works include the Rayden Valkyrie novels (Sword and Sorcery), the Rising Dawn Saga (Cross Genre), the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Hellscapes short story collections (Horror), the Chronicles of Ave short story collections (Fantasy), and the

StephenZimmerAbout the author: Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker based out of Lexington Kentucky. His works include the Rayden Valkyrie novels (Sword and Sorcery), the Rising Dawn Saga (Cross Genre), the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Hellscapes short story collections (Horror), the Chronicles of Ave short story collections (Fantasy), and the Harvey and Solomon Tales (Steampunk).

Stephen’s visual work includes the feature film Shadows Light, shorts films such as The Sirens and Swordbearer, and the forthcoming Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot.

Stephen is a proud Kentucky Colonel who also enjoys the realms of music, martial arts, good bourbons, and spending time with family.

Telling Rayden Valkyrie’s Story in Words and Images

This is the first time I’ve been able to tell a character’s story through more than one medium, with Rayden Valkyrie taking center stage in a TV Pilot after appearing in a couple of novels and a short story. Bringing one of my book characters to the screen is a new experience for me, with its own set of challenges and creative possibilities.

Short stories and novels are the end products themselves, whereas a completed screenplay is a blueprint that serves as a guide for a very collaborative process in creating an end product of a feature film or TV episode. Along the way in a feature film or episodic production, a lot of other individuals are going to bring elements to the process; whether it be the director costume designer, a prop master, cinematographer, members of the cast, or even a special effects artist. Each one of those production areas is going to make its mark on the final production.

Further, a screenplay can only show story elements and dialogue. Unlike a novel or short story, it cannot go inside a character’s mind to reveal what the character is thinking or going through internally.

Finally, the reader generates their own mental vision of a story through the intimate connection with the author through the words on the page. The author engages the imagination of the reader. In a film production, it is more of a passive process for the viewer, as the vision of the story is set out for them on the screen itself. The imagination of those involved in the production process is displayed.

The two realms are truly apples and oranges, which is why there will always be debates wherever both a book and movie/tv series exist of the same story. In my opinion, each needs to be judged on their own merits simply because they are completely different methods of storytelling.

All the same, it is my mission to bring Rayden’s story to viewers and readers alike in a manner where each gains a strong sense of who Rayden Valkyrie is, and what she is all about. While the TV Pilot production is a collaborative creative process, there must be consistency between the Rayden on the pages of the books and the Rayden portrayed on screen.

From the casting to the story I developed for the TV Pilot, I have taken great care to make sure the consistency is there, while also understanding that there will be differences due to the nature of the mediums. Rayden’s look on screen could not stray far from how she is described in the books, nor could her actions in the screenplay drift from how she acts and reacts in the books.

Those core parameters that had to be kept, while allowing room to breath for individuals such as the costume designer (Timothy Shackleford) and the actress portraying her (Sol Geirsdottir). Maintaining the nature of her character in the on screen presentation is, in my opinion, key to telling her story effectively in visual mediums.

The screenplay for the TV Pilot is not an adaptation. It is an original story that expands the Rayden Valkyrie storyline and universe, so it gives something new for the readers of the books without having prior expectations set in place (as there would be, if the screenplay was an adaptation of one of the novels).

Storytelling in words and images involve mediums that are very different in nature, but together I find them great channels to reveal the full Rayden Valkyrie story in a dynamic and multifaceted way.

ThunderHorizonCover_1200X800Book Synopsis for Thunder Horizon: A deadly menace stalks the shadows of the lands to the north, stirring the winds of war. Farther south, the power of the Teveren Empire spreads with every passing day, empowered by dark sorcery. Formidable legions bent on conquest are on the march, slavery and subjugation following in their wake.

Within the rising maelstrom, Rayden Valkyrie has returned to the Gessa, to stand with the tribe that once took her into their care as a child. No amount of jewels or coin can sway her, nor can the great power of her adversaries intimidate her.

With a sword blade in her right hand and axe in her left, Rayden confronts foes both supernatural and of flesh and blood. Horrific revelations and tremendous risks loom; some that will see Rayden’s survival in the gravest of peril.

Even if Rayden and the Gessa survive the trials plaguing their lands, the thunder of an even darker storm booms across the far horizon.

Thunder Horizon is the second book in the Dark Sun Dawn Trilogy.

 

HeartofaLionCover_1200X800Book Synopsis for Heart of a Lion: Rayden Valkyrie. She walks alone, serving no king, emperor, or master. Forged in the fires of tragedy, she has no place she truly calls home.

A deadly warrior wielding both blade and axe, Rayden is the bane of the wicked and corrupt. To many others, she is the most loyal and dedicated of friends, an ally who is unyielding in the most dangerous of circumstances.

The people of the far southern lands she has just aided claim that she has the heart of a lion. For Rayden, a long journey to the lands of the far northern tribes who adopted her as a child beckons, with an ocean lying in between.

Her path will lead her once more into the center of a maelstrom, one involving a rising empire that is said to be making use of the darkest kinds of sorcery to grow its power. Making new friends and discoveries amid tremendous peril, Rayden makes her way to the north.

Monstrous beasts, supernatural powers, and the bloody specter of war have been a part of her world for a long time and this journey will be no different. Rayden chooses the battles that she will fight, whether she takes up the cause of one individual or an entire people.

Both friends and enemies alike will swiftly learn that the people of the far southern lands spoke truly. Rayden Valkyrie has the heart of a lion.

Heart of a Lion is Book One of the Dark Sun Dawn Trilogy.

Teaser Trailer Link for Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7w_UI_RCg4&t=34s

Teaser Trailer for Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart: TV Pilot

Author Links:

Twitter: @SGZimmer

Facebook: www.facebook.com/stephenzimmer7

Instagram: @stephenzimmer7

Website: www.stephenzimmer.com

 

Tour Schedule and Activities

8/16 The Temple of the Exploding Head Guest Post

8/16 The Page Turner Guest Post

8/16 BOOKS TO CURL UP WITH Author Interview

8/16 Bookishly me Author Interview

8/16 DarWrites Guest Post

8/16 Sheila’s Guests and Reviews Guest Post

8/16 Sapphyria’s Books Guest Post

8/16 Deal Sharing Aunt Top Ten’s List

8/17 DarWrites Review

8/17 Bookin Around Town Author Interview/Podcast

8/17 Full Moon Bites Character Interview

8/18 BOOKS TO CURL UP WITH Review

8/18 The Sinister Scribblings of Sarah E. Glenn Top Ten’s List

8/18 I Smell Sheep Guest Post

8/19 Paranormal Pleasures Review

8/19 The Page Turner Review

8/19 Bella’s Book Reviews Review

8/19 Jeni’s Bookshelf Guest Post

8/20 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! Guest Post

8/20 The Seventh Star Blog Guest Post

8/20 Stuart Thaman Books Guest Post

8/21 MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape Author Interview

8/21 SpecMusicMuse Author Interview

8/21 Jordan Hirsch Review

8/22 Beauty in Ruins Guest Post

8/22 Discover New Authors Author Interview

8/22 Butterfly’s Booknerdia Blog Review

8/23 The Occult Detective Review

8/23 Bookishly me Review

8/23 Jeni’s Bookshelf Review

8/23 Jorie Loves a Story Interview

8/23 Readers Life With Trisha Ratliff Review

 

Amazon.com Links for Thunder Horizon:

Kindle Version

https://www.amazon.com/Thunder-Horizon-Dark-Dawn-Book-ebook/dp/B06ZZ7JT56/

Print Version

https://www.amazon.com/Thunder-Horizon-Dark-Dawn-Trilogy/dp/1941706576/

Barnes and Noble Link for Thunder Horizon:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/thunder-horizon-stephen-zimmer/1126268394?ean=9781941706572

 

Amazon.com Links for Heart of a Lion:

Kindle Version

https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Lion-Dark-Dawn-Book-ebook/dp/B00T44R6LE/

Print Version

https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Lion-Stephen-Zimmer/dp/1941706215/

Barnes and Noble Link for Heart of a Lion:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/heart-of-a-lion-stephen-zimmer/1121113044?ean=9781941706213

 

 

copyright 2017, Stephen Zimmer

The Making of Kat

July 12, 2017

Kat cover Front FinalIn a few days the paperback of The League of Elder, Book 12: Kat will be out. This journey has taken plenty of twists and turns over the past three years when I started it. Every book has its own flavor, and this one was certainly no different.

The issues I encountered with this particular work were unlike any I’d seen before.

First of all: I wasn’t satisfied with the story. When I first came up with the story, my intent was to simply add-on to the events from Book 8: The Shadow tech Goddess. In that book, our hero, Paymaster Stenstrom, encountered a sinister Knife-class Black Hat in the lonely, but oft-visited, Ruins of Clovis located in the Vithland region of Kana.  There, he encountered three Knife-class Black Hats, two dead, one alive, all searching for evidence of the identity of the fearsome, yet elusive, Shadow tech Goddess. After brief skirmish, the lone living Black Hat captured Stenstrom’s companions, Lord A-Ram and Lady Gwendolyn of Prentiss. Due to her astounding agility and her Shadow tech tail, he called her Kat. She then forced Stenstrom to descend into the catacombs under the ruins, where he encountered the dead bodies of her two companions. Despite everything, Stenstrom found himself fascinated by Kat, at the hints of blonde hair and sparkling green eyes through the mask. As Stenstrom begins his quest across the Plains, Kat’s name was added to the list of seven mates for him. And then she was horribly killed by the Lacerta in the Ruins of Caroline.

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Kat–as she originally appeared in Book 8, The Shadow tech Goddess. Panting by Eve Ventrue.

So, that was that for Kat. In the subsequent StG books, I wanted to explore the various alternate versions of Paymaster Stenstrom and his loves. For the 6th turn, it was Kat’s turn. My plan was to simply pluck her as is from the pages of Book 8 and give her a fresh lease, adventuring with Paymaster Stenstrom as he battled the horrible demon Bellathauser.  I used the KISS technique: Keep it Simple, Stupid.

 

But, that’s when my troubles began. I was about 40 thousand words into the story. I had thought to keep these StG stories short, anywhere from 40 to 60 thousand words, and I had accomplished that with Stenibelle at around 50k.

With Kat, though, I found myself disliking the story, for lots of reasons.  I found I was repeating myself. I never have issues with Writer’s Block, but, if I think I’m revisiting previous material, that can slow me down considerably as I strive to keep things fresh–I call that Writer’s Thunk! With Kat, I felt I was reheating old stuff at every turn–I mean this is the 12th book in the series, it’s hard to keep coming up with totally new material, but still.

After thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that most of the book’s issues came from the character of Kat herself. Simply ripping her out of Book 8 was not satisfactory for me at all. She was flat and uninteresting, her interactions in the story perfunctory at best. Her story was too similar to that of Sygillis of Metatron back in Book 1–the taming of an unruly Black Hat, etc. And, rather embarrassingly, I found her relationship with Paymaster Stenstrom reeked of Instalove.

Kat Sketches

Early sketches of the rebooted Kat by Carol Phillips. Kat’s spark, her ever-present brightness and zest for life is evident in the sketches.

Action was called for. I was certain if I could get the character of Kat right, then the rest of the book would follow. So, I went back to basics. In Book 8, Kat was a fully-powered Knife-class Black Hat. We’ve seen plenty of that in the previous books, while only hinting at the horrors they suffer during their training in a place called the Shade Church. I thought if I removed all her of skills and make her a trainee with limited skills, that could introduce all sorts of opportunity for growth.

 

 

Paige 2

A theme emerged after the additions, that all things, no matter how unlikely, have the potential to better themselves. (Painting by Carol Phillips)

I went to work, adding a few scenes to the front of the book to give Kat a little life–never in my wildest dreams did I think I  would eventually add up to 40k words, almost doubling the size of the book. I found myself intoxicated in the creation process, exploring the revised Kat character, seeing what was there, all the while, keeping the plot moving. I came up with Autocons and Sentrils.  A-Ram and Alesta, who had been absent from the book, reappeared. The two dead Black Hats from Book 8 became Kat’s sisters, Bird, Walker and Wheel. All of this was organic characterization, everything in real time, on the fly. In 40k words, Kat went from being a rather pat and uninteresting fantasy character to something special, stealing every scene she’s in.

 

Book 12: Kat has everything–lots of action, loads of imagination and fantastic situations the League of Elder is known for, plus fully developed characters that grow before your eyes.

Stg-blueThe 6th Turn: Kat is published by St G Press/Winter Wolf.

copyright 2017, Ren Garcia and Carol Phillips

We’re doing a pre-read for LOE Book 12, Kat soon. I as given a character interview to fill out from Loving the Book Blog Tours to help promote the event.

 

kat-portrait-final

Kat, by Carol Phillips

While I love all the various characters I’ve created over the years, Kat, the first countess of the House of Belmont-South Tyrol, stands out. She’s a ‘new’ person, freshly minted and her response to things tends to be  childlike, mixed in with a bit of hard-bitten earthiness. It’s a lot of fun to dive into her mind.

 

So, what are we waiting for?

1: When you walk into a room what do you notice first? Second?

KAT: Oh, you’re going to think I’m weird or something, but the wallpaper. I just LOVE wallpaper. I like to look at it, and I like to touch it, too, especially if it’s padded wallpaper like we have in the Chalk House. Hehe, you know, I even like licking the wallpaper when nobody’s watching. I guess countesses aren’t supposed to do that sort of thing, right? But, yeah, I like the taste of the glue. I’ve licked wallpaper up and down the Esther coastline. The Harvey’s in Dee have the best-tasting wallpaper around. It’s like heaven. The second thing I look for, I guess, is a bathroom. I love sitting in bathrooms. I love the porcelain, I love the tiles and I love the smell of the water in the fixtures. I could sit in a nice bathroom all day.  Yeah, I’m mental, I guess.

 

stg-7

Original painting of Kat, by Eve Ventrue

2: How would you change the world?  The things around you? The people around you?

 

KAT: I don’t know—I’m still pretty new to the world and how it works. Sitting here in this big ole’ manor by the sea, I probably miss a lot of it. I guess I just want everybody to love each other. I’ve spent such a long time not being loved, I want to make up for it now. It was horrible in the Shade Church, that’s where I was for a long time and every day there was something new to make you miserable. Now that I’m out, I want to be loved. Love all around, everybody happy. Let’s dance and love each other. Why not?

3: How do you learn best?

KAT (Smiling) Haha, On the floor, after lunch. I love sitting on the floor. I feel all caged up in a chair. Yeah, I’m weird, right? But, that’s how G taught me to read mostly, us sitting nose to nose on the floor under the table in the library. I think I’ve thrown more chairs than have actually sat in them. Chairs are great for throwing, but, they kind of hurt my back. If I really want a good night’s sleep, I slide off that crazy bed and get comfortable on the floor. Hell, everything’s better on the floor, and I mean everything.

 

spider-thumb1

Conceptual Cover for LOE Book 12, “Kat”, by Carol Phillips

4: What are your goals in life?

 

KAT: My goals? You’re making my head hurt, haha. I think a lot of my goals I’ve already accomplished. Here I am in the big house with my man. I’m not bleeding, I’m not unconscious. I’ve got a full belly and we’re playing cards tonight. Looking ahead, I just want to be a good wife and a good mom once me and G have kids. That might sound simple, I guess, but when you’ve lived underground under the Black Hat’s heel for most of your life, it’s the simple things you crave. Oh—I guess I want to master my Shadow tech, too. I’m trying, I practice all the time, and I’m trying not to cheat using NatalZ of Mund’s ‘squash data’ we got in Vain. That’s cheating. I want to figure out how to make StT’s, like NatalZ could. But, it’s really, really hard. Hey, you’re not a Black Hat are you?

5: What unusual hobbies or interests do you have?

KAT (Blushing) Well, ok, I’ll just tell you. I love tying G up. I’ll tie him to anything I can find. Having sex isn’t the same unless I’ve got him trussed-up like a Nether Day goose. Umm, that doesn’t freak you out or anything, does it? I mean, it’s all in good fun and if he didn’t let me do it, I wouldn’t. Heck, he tied me up to the flag pole once and left me there. I’m not a bad person or anything. I’m sure other countesses out there tie their guys up—look what they’re missing out on. I can teach them if they want–Bondage, made easy by Kat, haha. I love my G … but I really, really, really love him all tied up. I guess that counts as a hobby.

6: What are you most afraid of?

KAT: Well, I really don’t like being shut into confined spaces. It’s not something I like talking about much. I just don’t like small spaces. Can we move on from that question?

 

Kat & Sisters

Kat, Wheel (Standing on the left), Mountain Walker and Bird, by Ewelina Dolzycka

7: If you had one wish, what would it be?

 

KAT (Tearing up) My Sisters … Bird, Walker, even Wheel. I’d give anything to have them back. Really miss them. I visit them every day on the hill. I even talk to them. I’m sorry, I need to step away for a moment …

8: What do you like best about yourself?

KAT: Me? What do I like best? I like my hair. Yeah. I like the color and I like my temples freshly shaved. I like how my hair whips around when it’s windy, like it’s alive or something. I could sit in the boudoir for hours letting them comb my hair. I used to not like my hair color at all, but, as few other people seem to have it, I guess it makes me stand out a little.

 

kat sketch2

Conceptual sketch of Kat, by Carol Phillips

9: What do you like least about yourself?

 

KAT: I’m too short. When I want to kiss my G, I’ve got to stand on something, or he’s got to stoop. I used to just climb up his chest and latch on, but I’m not allowed to do that anymore–my claws tore him up too much. I loved how tall Walker was, that’s how I’d like to be: longer legs, way tall, my head in the clouds.

Kat will be appearing in the League of Elder, Book 12, Kat, coming soon from Winter Wolf Publications.

copyright 2017: Ren Garcia