Fireworks in Arizona

I was in the grocery store today, and they had this massive fireworks display. Indoors. Under the air conditioning.

California, thee of the broiling fireworks stands in molten parking lots, take note. This is what freedom looks like.

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The souls of supernatural monsters

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In the first Twilight book, Edward and Bella have an intriguing conversation.

Edward believes that as soon as a person becomes a vampire, their soul is lost forever. Therefore he’s trying to get back into God’s good graces by only drinking animal blood, and being a “good vampire”.

It’s a very short convo, but it sets up Edward’s worry about Bella–that turning her into a vampire will cost her her soul.

This question is never answered. Bella is turned and they live happily ever after–but what about their souls?

I read all four books, hoping the story would address it on a deeper level, but it never did. So I guess I have to.

What is a soul, anyway? I’ve seen a lot of explanations.

The soul is the software that runs your hardware, like a computer’s operating system.

OR

The soul is the personality and memory, the spirit is the animal life that makes the heart pump, and the mind is the physical brain.

More or less.

All we know is that we have a slice of immortality in us that struggles with the body’s fleshly cravings. Heaven and Hell are only accessed once our mortal lives end. God and eternity await.

But in fantasy, there’s this huge gray area. What about monsters who supposedly have no soul? Like vampires, or werewolves, or zombies?

I’ve mused on werewolves before. I’ve figured out what each kind of monster represents to me:

Vampire: decay of the soul

Werewolf: decay of the mind

Zombie: decay of the body

But the Twilight question remains. Can a person truly lose their soul? What are the repercussions of a person having their soul removed? Does the soulless state make them into a monster, or were they a monster before that?

I have a character who was a Christian before his soul was removed. As this story heads into revisions, I’m musing on what, exactly, this means, spiritually. Is he considered dead? Has he been proverbially snatched out of his Father’s hand, meaning he’s automatically damned?

Is he cut off from his spiritual side, and operating entirely in the flesh? Or would some grace remain?

He’s not a vampire, and his soul is still around–it’s just not in his body anymore. The object of the game is to get his soul back.

But I don’t know. What do you think?

Interview with Robert Penner

Last week, Robert Penner gracious interviewed me on his blog Pennerstories. Since he has an interesting fantasy book, I thought I’d return the favor! It’s always fun to get to know a new author.

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1. Welcome, Robert! Tell us a little about yourself.

First of all, thanks for hosting me. I work in broadcast transmission for a living, am married with one daughter, and live in beautiful California. I enjoy reading fantasy, watching fantasy, and writing fantasy.

2. What got you started on writing?

I began writing in 2004, although I had written a lot of poetry prior to that. One day I discovered a really fun podcast called The Dragon Page Cover to Cover and all they talked about was the world of writing in Fantasy and SciFi. One of my favorite authors (Michael A. Stackpole) was a co-host (that is how I discovered him) and he was on the inside track of this new world of publishing.

For a time all they focused on was how an E-Book revolution was coming and how you, as a writer, could make your own destiny and call your own shots in writing. All this talk of self-publishing and tips on writing caused me to realize I had an inner desire to do so…and I did.

I published a host of short stories for Young Adults, and Paranormal mysteries along with a novel. Since then I’ve taken most of those writings down because I have grown as a writer and wanted to focus mainly on the Fantasy genre.

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3. Your book, Dark Moon Shadows, has an interesting magic mechanic that gives rise to the title. Mind telling us more about it?

Indeed it does. Dark Moon Shadow is actually a magic that an evil wizard has unleashed upon the land of Elberoth. This Fantasy novel has a very dark element to it, but within the darkness is the spirit of courage and growth where good overcomes evil.

There is a lot of magic (unique I might add), battles and sword fights, and a little romance. I’ll have to leave it at that as I want people to enjoy the story without spoilers.

4. What do you love about your protagonist(s)?

What I love about the lead character is his growth process. Timson starts out as young man fighting against expectations and ends up embracing who he really is. He is a true success story, but not without its consequences as we will find out in the next novel.

5. What is your favorite fantasy book that you’ve read?

I have a few favorites. Who doesn’t love Lord of the Rings? I found that book to be extremely fascinating and hard to read all at the same time. My true favorite fantasy book is the Dark Glory War by Michael A. Stackpole. It is the first of the Dragon Crown Wars Series. A wonderful series by a fantastic writer. Currently, I am on a Terry Brooks kick and am reading his works.

6. What other genres do you enjoy? (TV, movies, etc)

Other than reading fantasy I love watching it. I must say it is hard to put a good fantasy on film. Game of Thrones is good, but there is not enough of the type of fantasy I like. Merlin was fun and I’m sad that it came to an end.

Legend of the Seeker started out good, but did not live up to expectations. Currently, I keep up with Grimm. I also enjoy SciFi…speaking of Revolution and the fact that it was cancelled is irritating.

7. Excellent! I love Grimm, too! What do you do for fun?

Doing my website, writing, blogging, and family occupies all my free time…and that is fun!

Thanks Kessie for returning the favor and hosting me. We Indie authors need to stick together, along with putting out good writing, in order to help each other succeed.

Well said, Robert! Thanks for participating, and happy writing!

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Dark Moon Shadows (available on Kindle or Nook)

Steampunk Carda, hee hee

I drew Carda as he might look in the steampunk era.

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He’s got an old-timey flamethrower on one hand, and the other has a Jacob’s Ladder on a rubber glove attached to a massive battery. He’s like a walking bomb!

My brother said that instead of being the Strider of Chronos, Carda should be known as the Gentleman Chronosian. I think it fits. 🙂

Oddball gemstones and steampunk clothes

Ever heard of Fordite? In early auto manufacturing, layers of paint would build up on the machinery. Apparently it can be carved into funky-colored jewelry.

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In other news, my hubby got me this simple steampunk brooch.

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I know it’s not the greatest photo, but its such a neat little thing! We keep coming up with ideas for steampunk outfits. I’m afraid the steampunk culture has caught us at last.

My hubby has always loved vests, and lo and behold, vests were a THING in the Victorian era.

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I just love the steampunk dresses, too. The trouble being, England is a cold, wet climate, and they wear so many LAYERS.

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I live in a desert. Therefore the lighter, vest-based outfits appeal to me.

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I mean, check this out! It has a cravat, even! The fabric is actually recycled upholstery, which is why it has such a funky design on it. Apparently Etsy has a massive steampunk community. You have to make it yourself. Steampunk isn’t a thing you can buy in a store.

That’s probably what makes it such fun. 🙂

Interview and inn painting

I got interviewed by Rob Penner! He’s an indie fantasy writer, too–although he writes high fantasy and I do urban. It was a fun interview, though!

I’ve also been working on a commission. A friend wanted me to paint a background for his RPG campaign site. Since their home base was an inn, he asked for a simple landscape with an inn.

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Architecture is my bane. All those squares and triangles! I left the center very simple, since it’ll be covered by site content anyway, and concentrated more details along the edges.

This was my reference. It’s a render model, and I heavily referenced it, since it was exactly the kind of building I wanted.

It’s been a busy week! My hubby is attending Phoenix Comic Con. I was positively drooling over some of the panels. I told him to take lots of notes. 🙂