Tag Archives: Spiral City

New Story: The Last Guardians 3-Guardians Ascending

Currently Working On:
The Shadow Day Quartet Book 1: Bandit’s Escape
Commission References

Yep, it’s official. I’ve finished the Last Guardians! So excited, you wouldn’t believe it.

The delay on me posting both the story and my blog post has two reasons: 1, noble took her time on this book cover, and wow, does the effort show. It looks AMAZING. I especially love how the city stretches out in unorganized chaos, perfect for the Lower Circle. 2, I got swamped in medieval fair stuff and wrapping up not only my own finals, but the finals for my students (I TA for a large class, scary stuff).

That said, I am so proud of this trilogy. (I’m sure I’ll hate it later, but right now I love it.) It wrapped up just the way I wanted to, and not only that, but everything fits together but is capable of standing alone. Writing from Rim’s point of view was definitely interesting. She’s younger than I usually write, and definitely different from writing either of the two Guards. I had to constantly remember the differences, especially since the Upper Circle and the Lower Circle raise completely different children. The ending came out a little differently than I expected, but that was more Rim going down an unexpected career path than anything else.

This is the story where I had the Bell Moment, as I like to call it. I was sitting here, needing something because I’m an IDIOT, and was trying to figure out how to make a signal in the dark, when I remembered a moment-of-random from the second story that was just a very minor detail at the time. My brain went, “OH! OH!” and it solved all my problems. So I call them “bell moments” ever since. Want to know why? Read the story.

Next is the anthology, but first I need to commission noble for both the anthology cover AND a less craptastic cover for the first story. Which means finishing reference pics. But first, must finish Mari’s first story and plot the second so I’m ready for the fall. Well, and finish my video game class this summer, and the summer play… For now, read the final(ish) part of the trilogy!

The Last Guardians: Guardians Ascending on Kindle


Busy, Busy, Busy…

Currently Work On:
World-Building Eresith
Creating Commission Descriptions (1.5/3)

Yep, you read right. I gave up on the artist I was having do the cover of Guardian Seeking, and instead asked noblestallion to do the entire series. She’s agreed, and as soon as she’s open for commissions again (I just missed her, conflabit!), she’ll start working on the covers. So I’m getting descriptions for her forms pre-filled out so all I have to do is copy-pasta. I’ll start her on Guardians Ascending first so that can go up, and then we’ll give Seeking a better cover before we start on the anthology…not that the super-secret extra story going into the anthology is written yet. 😛 I’m plotting it out, and then I’ll ask Mel Odom if he’ll mind editing again after I write it, so I can say he looked over everything and make my inner OCD geek happy.

Meanwhile, Eresith slowly plods along. I’m working at getting the history of the Spiral City finished Sunday when I get off work at the bookstore, then I can move on to the other stuff, like religion details, government, law and punishment (Dr. Olberding would never forgive me if I didn’t at least know how that theoretically worked), social hierarchy (both before and after The Last Guardians), and last, but not least, the magic system. Yeah… I’d like to finish this before school starts, but I’m feeling a wee bit doubtful on that front.

My work/school life has also imploded. I’m having difficulties getting enrolled in my final class, of course, as well as finding all the books I need for them as a whole (especially since one class hasn’t turned in a list to the bookstore and I can’ t access the other till I’m enrolled *eyeroll*). Meanwhile, I think I’ve figured out my work schedule, but I’ve got two hours of assistantship floating around that I have no idea how I’m going to do them unless I can wiggle out a, “I’ll come by every time my playwriting class  lets out early or if I don’t have work some random day” deal with the institute my second ten-hours is for. Thank you, nightmare… I’m going to be stupidly busy once October comes around and I’ve got bookstore, classes, assistantship, rehearsals, D&D, forum RPs, and my own personal work going on all at the same time. WHY do I do this to myself, I swear…?

Anyway. Hopefully going to blog again on Tuesday about my RPing pet peeves again instead of just slightly whining/warning about my upcoming disaster of a life. I’ll see ya’ll then.


MAPS!!!

Currently Working On:
Kindle-Formatting Guardians Ascending
Eresith World Building

So, this post might end up being a little pathetic, because I’m not really talking about anything, I’m updating. But, SQUEE!!! An artist friend of mine, Tristen Anderson, was very, VERY nice (and exceptionally patient) and made a map of Eresith! DOUBLE SQUEE!!!

What this means is if you are a fan of The Last Guardians, you’ll be able to see the Spiral City in relation to the rest of its continent. That is HARDLY the rest of the world… I’ve kinda described Eresith as Saveer’s Europe more than once. There’s a land bridge to a larger, southern continent, and then who KNOWS what’s on the other side of that forest (I don’t want to know, I know there are things besides trees that keep people from crossing it, and that’s enough).

I am SO excited that I’ve gotten a little more of this world fleshed out. The Slayers Empire is a really big deal, since it is so important to the Spiral City’s history, and now I have a whole story that happens there…which is also mildly annoying. Because I’m not certain if Sal (new character) and that crew’s story happens chronologically before my little half-changeling’s trilogy. *le sigh* And I’m not certain if it IS a single story, I’m worried it needs to be a trilogy and that’s… typical.

I’ve color-coded the map in two ways: one is topography, the other is where all the countries lay out. I’m HOPING I’ll get my Spiral City map that I have scribbled somewhere scanned in and up so you all can see that too. 😛 If I do, I’ll just edit this post. I can’t remember which of my notebooks I put it in. But yes, new page on the website coming up in a few seconds! *happy dance*

Edit: I found my scribbles and made them pretty in Photoshop. 😀 So enjoy! And I shifted things around on the site…


New Story: The Last Guardians 2–Guardian Proving

Currently Working On:
World-building the lands of Eresith
Formatting Guardians Ascending for Kindle

Yep, the Spiral City world has a name. The world is Saveer, the continent is Eresith, though it’s a bit like Europe since there’s another part of the continent that I haven’t touched yet, and I know for a fact it has a land-bridge to yet another continent. I may even have a map after this week. ^_^

In other news, the second part of The Last Guardians is up on Kindle! And this one has a much more impressive cover page, thanks to the amazing artist on deviantart, the user noblestallion. I love commissioning her for work, she does amazing pictures. This is the first time she’s done a city scape, but I wouldn’t have known it. (If ANYONE cripes about it being “too perfect,” please remember that this is the Upper Circle, the place that prides itself on being near-perfect.)

For the second story, I knew it had to focus on Liv. But like I said in the first book, she is so passive, it was hard to get her to take the step forward. Which gave me the idea that maybe something needed to happen to give her the initiative to do things herself. So I knew she needed a crime or criminal to deal with that required logical thought and examination of evidence, what she brings to hers and Mai’s partnership, which is how I came to an arsonist.

A character I unexpectedly brought back in was Sul. He was name-dropped in the first story, but I honestly didn’t expect him to reappear…I didn’t even know he was a him to begin with! But he was a fun character to flesh out, especially his different relationships between Mai and Liv respectively. Liv’s grandmother was also a piece of work. Liv herself though was the biggest surprise. She had so much going on, and how she felt about her partnership with Mai and being a guard surprised me. I don’t know if some of it was her getting a couple of years under her belt between this one and the previous story, or if it was just learning more about her, but I became just as attached to her as I am to Mai and Ava.

The Last Guardians: Guardian Proving on Kindle


New Story: The Last Guardians 1–Guardian Seeking

Currently working on:
Getting the world-building for the Spiral City and surrounding areas organized
Getting Guardian Proving formatted for Kindle

Thought I’d start sticking that *points up* in here so you all know what I’m up to. But yes, the first of the Last Guardians trilogy is up on Kindle! *happy dance* Okay, the cover art is temporary, I’m still waiting on the “official” stuff I paid for. I’m still excited for the story to be up. It’s the first in this world, but there’s a LOT that’s going to happen in it.

The story really started with the idea of the city. I loved the idea of a city being so isolated, and so physically divided that it became socioeconomic as well. (See my world building post for more about this process.) From there, the idea came around for the main character, and with the help of my short story professor, Mel Odom, her motivation for going after the serial killer. Mai was such a strong personality, I knew I had to have someone to balance her, which is where Liv came from. A rookie, awkward in her role, I didn’t know a lot about her in this story, but I knew there was a story to her, but I’d have to dig for it and I didn’t have the time for it at the moment. But she helped pull Mai back from being a complete maniac, and slowed her down, as well as showcasing elements of the culture that Mai tends to disregard…Mai is not a polite person.

Writing Mai’s story didn’t feel like any kind of work–and it is definitely Mai’s story. It literally poured out, and I had to force myself to take breaks for important things like food and water. The only thing that kept biting me in the butt for a couple of drafts was the ending. I had a hard time not setting the story up for the trilogy or changing character point of views. Thank God for Mel, who helped straighten me out and get an ending that worked. He also was instrumental in pointing out other slight problems that I didn’t notice while writing it, but would throw a reader off.

Overall, I’m very proud of this story, and that it’s the beginning of my introduction to this world. Mai is the kind of protagonist I like to put out there, strong but flawed, human but willing to go to extraordinary measures for what she believes in. The fact she’s female is just a bonus. 😛 A really, really big bonus.

The Last Guardian: Guardian Seeking on Kindle


The Spiral City: World Building

So, I mentioned in my last blog the Spiral City, so I suppose I ought to explain what the heck that even is, right? For the short story class I’m taking this semester, I had to write a crime story. I then went and decided to set it in a fantasy city. It has exploded from there, leading to at least one trilogy of short stories that should be up before the end of May at the latest, The Last Guardians, and one more that is currently untitled and in the planning stages. Something tells me I am far from finished with this city, though.

Building the Spiral City was an interesting experience. I started with a concept: a city where the police force and army had merged into one. I was then reminded of Gotham as portrayed in Batman Beyond, where the upper class lives high in the sky and the lower class lives on the ground. Running with it, I set the city up on a plateau, and then figured out how the Guard would work. Sort of like street cops and detectives, so the former walk patrols to keep the peace, the latter have a partner and a team of people to help with large crime scenes, that wasn’t enough though. I had to add Guards to the Wall, the separator between the two parts of the city, what I dubbed the Upper Circle and the Lower Circle. Now that I had a location, I had to turn my attention to the magic system.

As a fantasy reader, I think I’ve seen about every kind of magic system in existence, or close to it. I thought about what I liked and didn’t like about different systems, keeping in mind all the while that magic ALWAYS has to have a cost. Breaking it into the typical four elements helped, and from there it was a matter of deciding how each element manifested: Water is healing and scrying, Fire is quite literal and also involves light, Earth is protection runes and herbcraft, and Air is weatherworking with Seeing. I then had to decide what the differences were between Water’s scrying and Air’s Seeing, and came up with it being all a matter of limitations. Scrying is all dependent on where the castor was at the time, and how clear they can see is based on the strength of their magic. As that implies, it is limited to the past and present. Seeing came out as being a lot more powerful, since it applies to past, present, and future and is placed on actual people, but it has its drawbacks. It is EXTREMELY rare, as are all the powerful Gifts, and most who have it only See glimpses, maybe get “bad feelings” occasionally, and you can’t dictate what you see at all. The rarer Seers have dreams, which has the added complication of being able to remember them. There are other drawbacks to the Gifts, but that’s part of the plot of the first story. 😉

Next came religion, which is the one part that might have gotten overcomplicated on me. I knew I wanted four deities, to explain why I went traditional four elements instead of going five (earth, air, water, fire, metal) or even seven (earth, air, water, fire,  metal, light, dark). I knew the deity of fire was a goddess, and gave her the title of Warrior, and I also knew I wanted the water deity to be male for a change, and so made him the Wise God. That left the other two. The air goddess half-created herself, especially since I wasn’t initially going to include her in the first story, as the Free Goddess. Earth gave me the most trouble. I went through several different names for her before finally settling on Nurturing Goddess, and keeping the earth to the traditional role of the mother.

But the religion didn’t end there. I created the Guardians, the city’s equivalent of angels, to serve as something of a role model for citizens. Originally there were ten for each deity, and then I realized that someone needed to be in charge of so many “angels.” So I created the Firsts, an eleventh and more powerful Guardian that is an important aspect of the first story. Figuring out how they became Guardians took a little more time. In the end, I split them up by a few decades. The Firsts became Guardians by leading their people to form the city in the first place. The other forty people sacrificed themselves to put a barrier between the city and the outside world: no one goes in, no one goes out, which explains why they don’t need a large army to defend themselves. Together with the goddess/god of that element, the Guardians form the Spirals of each element, as I quickly grabbed Spiral as my motif for the city. Even the city streets are in a spiral, which is scary. XD

With each layer I added to the trilogy, I found other stories wanting to be told. Why are the Gifts linked to those particular deities? How did the Firsts lead their villages there? Why? What about the Guardians, why did they feel the need to create the barrier? There are also questions I can’t discuss that the last story in the trilogy brings up, but I will say they question what will become of the city. I created the world for one story, and then later for three. However, I think I’ll be telling its stories for a very, very long time. It’s my Tortall, or my Valdemar. It won’t stop telling me what needs said.