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 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.

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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.

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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

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

 

 

 

14291686_10154531872029586_2865426175355244435_nIf anybody had told me five years ago that I would have written a non-fiction book, I seriously would have laughed.

I mean really…

I don’t write non-fiction. I write about spaceships and Shadow tech and other oddities. Fiction is easy for me to write.  Non-fiction puts too much of a strain on my imagination.

And, if somebody would have additionally said the “non-fiction” book in question would have been about myself during my military years, I would have turned gray with fright.

A story about me? Who would want to read about me? Honestly, I couldn’t imagine a Hell more horrific than having to read page after dreary page of a book detailing the  insipid Wonder Bread doings of me.

But, here it is: 10 Weeks at Chanute, a daring but admittedly short detailing of my doings as a trainee Airman in the US Air Force. I had always thought that writing a tale about me would be hard, would be too much. Writing weird sci-fi is easy because it has nothing to do with me. But this–this is a glimpse into my soul.

HangarI was sent to Chanute Air force Base is 1992 to learn how to perform maintenance on jet engines. Chanute, for all of its long history, had been a place of training. I was just one of many to go there. But, I would be one of the last.

Chanute was dead–chopped, shut down, and, about a year later, would close its gates forever.

In 2012, I felt an odd calling to return to Chanute. I’m not certain why. I took the long, somewhat uninteresting drive across Indiana to what was left of Chanute. Twenty years of being abandoned had left its mark.

I wasn’t quite prepared for what I saw that stormy afternoon.

Chanute HQ BW 2So, when I got home, I started writing that non-fiction book I’d dreaded for so long. I had to write it, to get it off my chest. I wrote about me, and Chanute, how it had made me into a better person. I had no idea where I was going with it or what I was trying to say, I just wrote.

And then I lost it. I lost the Chanute manuscript. Even though I was only a few thousand words into it, losing those initial words would have been devastating. It’s difficult if not impossible to re-write something already written. I searched and searched for the manuscript. If I couldn’t find it, then that would be the end. My crazy urge to write a memoir would be over.

But then, there it was, hiding in the back of my drawer in an old jump drive I’d forgotten about.

Chanute was on again.

White Hall BW 3And I went on a tear. I wrote about my experiences and my state of being in 1992, how different things were back then. I wrote about Chanute, about its customs and heritage ninety years in the making. Those are things needed to be remembered and properly preserved.

I wrote about the funny things, the good times I had and the friends I made. I wrote about my sorrow twenty years later, seeing what had become of the old place.

Thirty thousand words later– just barely novella size–I was done. I said what I needed to say.

This tiny little book–I was amazed at what I had created. In just a few words, I told my story and Chanute’s story as well.

What more could I have asked for?

10 Weeks at Chanute is available in paperback and ebook at Amazon.com from Hydra Publications.

copyright 2017, Ren Garcia

 

 

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.

 

 

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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

LOE Places: Empire Hotel

April 28, 2017

Looming tall of the low-slung, Barbary city of St. Edmunds near the sea is a great building featuring a stout curtain wall of old red bricks, a stockade of inner-rings and a towering keep sheathed in patina green copper. So large and imposing, it can even be seen from orbit on clear days. This is the Empire Hotel, well known across Kana as a tourist attraction and playground for the wealthy peoples of the north and the west. It’s known for being a CWC, or Curtain-Walled City, a place with its own unique customs and ways, including a unique cuisine served in its many restaurants and its gothic-noir fashion. It’s also known for being the scene of several murders attributed to the killer known as the Fiend of Calvert. It was speculated that the Fiend might have been a guest of the hotel, or even one of the staff, though no arrests were ever made. Its wealthy guests come to disappear in its vast interior, dress-up, eat amazing food and People-watch the locals from the comfort of their exclusive terraces.

Empire Hotel Final

The Empire Hotel, by Ewelina Dolzycka

Originally, the hotel was a giant fortress built by the Vith House of Burgon in 477921 EX, intended to be used as a staging post for the conquest of the Calvertlands. The fortress, built to giant-sized Haitathe specifications, was completed, however the Burgons fled the League in 000000AX and the fortress remained unoccupied by the sea for centuries. Initially given a wide-berth by the Calverts due to its imposing appearance, eventually the seascape surrounding the fortress was taken up by the city of St. Edmunds. In 0010452Ax, the Fortress was bought by the Calvert House of Loin who first utilized it as a convent for daring women, then as a hostel for available youths, then as a cooking school, and finally as a full-blown hotel. It has since become a symbol of the city and of Calvert as a whole.

 

The hotel is considered by some a CWC (Curtain-Walled City) where the facility maintains unique customs, and, in some cases, separate legal status. These unique features are reserved for frequent guests only, often referred to as ‘Empirelites’. For these select persons, the hotel serves in its various restaurants, a unique cuisine enjoyed nowhere else on Kana.  They wear unique clothing tailored for them right there in the hotel. They listen to austere music and have access to floors, ballrooms and whole wings not listed or available to the general public. There is a reported room known as the Fiend Suite, where the Fiend of Calvert was said to have stayed and plotted his murders. Guests sometimes stay for months, years even, rarely venturing out.

copyright 2017, Ren Garcia and Ewelina Dolzycka

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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

 

LOE Characters: Sam

February 17, 2017

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The original painting of Sam by Fantasio. This painting became the standard for all future paintings of Sam

Without question, Lady Sammidoran of Monama (later, of Blanchefort) has been one of my favorite characters since she was introduced way back in Book III: The Dead Held Hands. As such, she’s also the most frequently painted character in my stable. I wanted to bust out a post celebrating her visual history as she has been interpreted by various artists over the years.

 

As in all things, she started out life very different than how she eventually turned out with lots and lots of sub-steps in between.

A LAUNDRY GIRL:

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Sam’s humble original look (Carol Phillips)

Sam started out as a simple servant, a laundry girl toiling away in the bowels of a Calvert Great House. There was nothing extraordinary about her at the time, except that she was rather brawny as a result of her labor-intensive life, and her odd ability to create mental projections known as Killanjo. There was no “Monama” at the time, I hadn’t even thought up the House of Monama yet. That’s how my creative process works, little by little, each thought building on the last. About half way through writing  Book III, I realized the direction I had been heading in wasn’t very interesting. Though I hated to do it, a drastic change was needed, and fast. I had created the House of Monama recently, and at a dinner scene there was a Lady Strella of Monama, a friend of Lady Sarah of Blanchefort. I’d written Strella as a sort of Goth, wearing black clothes and black makeup.

 

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Sam, wearing her steampunk goggles, by Eve Ventrue

On a lark, I suddenly flip-flopped plain, ordinary Sam with the much more exotic, gothic Strella. All of a sudden, Sam was the Monama and Stella was on the outs, though I eventually brought her back as a Fleet ship’s captain from the Remnath area of Kana in Book IV. As I created, Sam and her new Monama heritage got stranger  with each successive draft.

 

The pale makeup she’d been wearing previously became her actually skin tone. Her fingernails became deadly claws, in fact the entire House of Monama became an alien species native to Kana with a savage history where they were once four-armed beasts slaying everything in their past.

I continued to create. The brand new alien House of Monama blossomed before my very eyes.

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Sam, displaying many features of a Monama–claws, huge eyes, pale skin, massive hair, and no belly-button. She’s wearing her Snugs medallion which protects her from the cold. (Fantasio)

I imagined different tribes of Monamas huddled around their fog-bound ancestral home, Lake Monama. I imagined the Astralons, the Nebulons, the Cardinals and Fphenooks. I came up with the idea the Monamas were fast and strong, much more so than the Elders of the north. I also gave them their greatest weakness, a fatal susceptibility to cold, keeping them based in the south, and I made them very unfit for space-travel, slowly got sick and weakened when away from Kana until they perished.

 

Remembering my grandmother, I added the White Emilia flower that plays a large role in the Monama mating rituals.

And then I created the beast raging within all of them: the Berserkacide and the Killanjo demons from nowhere that tortured them without pause.

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Sam and her husband, Lord Kabyl (Carol Phillips)

In dealing with my German friend, Fantasio, I hit upon the idea that the Monamas don’t speak LC, or “League Common” as a first language. I changed them around to speak a family of Monama languages: Anuie, Conox and Systerel. At the same time, since they were speaking different languages amongst themselves, I figured there might be different types of Monamas as well–Big ones and little ones. I came up with the Greater Monamas, or “Anuians” and the smaller, more frequent Lesser Monamas, or “Conox“.  Of course I made my heroine Sam a Greater Monama–having her be little and stringy wouldn’t do.

 

SAM AND KAY:

Sam has always been associated with Lord Kabyl of Blanchefort, whom she would one day be wed to. Monamas have prophetic powers, Sam dreamed of “Kay” years before he was born in the cold north of Kana. She saw him every night in her dreams. Bucking a Monama tradition of abandoning her dreams by planting a White Emilia flower at the Wailing Wall, the remains of an old Anuian Fortress, Sam clung to them, hoping one day to meet in person and win the heart of this Elder boy whom she loved.

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Sam Dead (Fantasio)

Sam, though, was an unwitting pawn of a terrible outlawed being known as the Horned God, and was used by him to frame the saintly god Carahil. After a series of horrific events, Sam died as a Berserkacide, shot to death by her love, Kay. Put to rest in her tomb atop Dead Hill, Kay grieved for her for nearly a year.

 

But, Sam had foreseen her transformation into a Berserkacide and death. She had taken steps to either prevent the change, or to circumvent it.

Using the arcane Machine, Kay was able to Bring Sam back from the veil of death where they were shortly wed at last.

As they began their life together, Sam discovered that, while she was in her tomb out on Dead Hill, Kay had been seeing other people, and was enraged. That fact that she was dead while this was going on didn’t matter to her–she would have rathered he spend the rest of his long life alone and miserable.

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Sam waiting for #6 (Sarah Smith)

Displaying a long-lived  jealous streak, Sam grew to hate the woman who dared to conduct a relationship with Kay while she was dead. It was Domeneau of Holly, #6 of the Xandarr 44. As the 44 often came to the Telmus Grove to pray at the statue of Carahil, Sam often found herself out there, waiting for #6 to show.

 

Hey, nobody’s perfect.

As you can see, Sam has been painted a lot by various artists–this sampling displayed here is hardly all of the materials we’ve collected over the years.

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Sam Awakens, by Rebecca Sinz

Sam continues to be one of my personal favorites. I can’t wait to see what further treasures will be created.

 

Bowl Naked

copyright 2017 Ren Garcia, Fantasio, Carol Phillips, Eve Ventrue, Rebecca Sinz and Sarah Smith