At long last, Book VI of the LoE series, The Sands of the Solar Empire is underway. Carol Phillips is beginning work painting the cover and, to me, the cover is the heart of the book and its completion is a huge ceremonial step toward publication.

Sketch for "The Sands of the Solar Empire" by Carol Phillips

A few things about the Sands. As with the Temple trilogy before it, the Sands was too large to be published as one self-contained book. At 200,000 words, I had to divide it right down the center, with the Sands comprising the first part and Book VII “Against the Druries” being the second. The Sands mostly explores the main character, Lord Stenstrom of Belmont-South Tyrol and how he came to be. He has many secrets (you might notice he’s wearing a mask on the sketch).

The cover depicts a scene from the book where Lord Stenstrom, or “Bel” as he’s known is facing death at the Bones Club, a place where the members openly mock and disparage the Sisterhood of Light (If you look carefully at the chairs in the background, you’ll see several Sisters carved in demeaning positions).

The Sands is the first book in the League of Elder Second Series, where a new slew of characters are introduced.

"Taara" by Eve Ventrue (unfinished)

Bel is the first of many new characters. Also is Josephus, Lord of A-Ram, a man from Calvert, the brooding Lt. Gwendolyn and, my personal favorite, Private Taara de la Anderson from Bazz. I can’t wait to share them with the world.

It should take Carol about a month and a half to complete the cover. By then, with luck, most of the interior artwork will be completed. As with previous LoE books, the Sands will be well-appointed with artwork.

It should be a fun ride.

Bowl Naked


copyright 2012, Ren Garcia, Carol Phillips, Eve Ventrue

The LoE Second Series is fast in production with Book VI, The Sands of the Solar Empire coming out in June, 2012.

"Private Taara" by Fantasio

The Second Series, though placed in the same universe as the original series, deals with a whole new cast of characters, and one of my personal favorites is Private Taara.

Unlike many of characters dealt with in previous LoE books, Private Taara is not rich, nor does she have rich friends and know rich people, she is a kid from Bazz, the Naples, Italy of the League. The people of Bazz do not make use of the feudal Great House system seen on Kana and Hoban, instead Bazzers are all considered commoners. As such, Taara has a first and last name, a rarity in the League. Her full name is: Taara de la Anderson.

Her mother was a fruit vendor and her father distilled zemuda, a cheap, brain-wrenching spirit known for causing severe constipation in the guts of those who indulge too much. Taara was a small kid, pretty with a tom-boy’s body. She was a rowdy kid, a clutz and rather a dim bulb. The only activity she excelled in as a tweener was stealing things, which she often indulged in. She was sent off three times to children’s disciplinary camps digging clams on the shores of the Endax Sea.

Taara eventually is transformed into a "goddess-like" woman (Eve Ventrue)

Taara’s uncle ran a successful Apothecary in Benson-Benson, known for brewing the “Potion of the Gods”, a rare tincture said to supercharge a male’s virility and ensure a mighty son. The apothecary was eventually destroyed by a fire and Taara, who was there that day, was blamed for it. Beliving her to be a jinx, Taara was sent off into the Stellar Marines, hoping they might instill some manners in her.

As a Marine, Taara was a disaster. Lax and uninterested, she often got her company in trouble, causing them all to be disciplined. They took to calling her “MOM”, for “Maiden of Misery” and she was loathed from top to bottom. She was eventually assigned to lowly guard duty in Fleet headquarters in the city of Armenelos, where it was thought she couldn’t get into trouble. They often made her stand in a corner to guard a bust of the infamous Admiral Pax.

After once again getting her unit in the dog house with command and forced to wear a “MOM” sign around her neck,

Taara couldn’t know that her life was about to change forever when the tall man wearing a long green coat and a Robber’s Mask wandered into her area.

copyright 2012, Ren Garcia, Fantasio and Eve Ventrue