Interview with Freshly Booked

I recently did an interview with the lovely ladies over at Freshly Booked regarding my novel Prince of the Dawn.

The podcast is roughly an hour long. If you have some spare time, check it out. I apologize in advance for all of my “ums”.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/writersonlinenetwork/2014/01/30/freshly-booked-1

Starrunner-class Starship

So I do some side work with the folks over at the Star Wars Artist Guild (Lal-Khan is my name over there) doing free artwork for people that is Star Wars related. Usually these are gamers that are looking for original artwork for their favorite characters. I find it satisfying to help this people in need and also use it as a way to drive myself to practice more on my artwork. In this case, a request came in for a starship called a Starrunner-class. This ship is very rare and mentioned in only one Extended Universe place. In addition, there is only one picture of this ship out there of any decent quality. I decided to pick up the request and give it a try.

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Reimagining

So things look a little different around here.  It has been a rough couple of months with the passing of my father to lung cancer and with that a reexamination of my life. I am so much more than writer and seeing that I am still in the stages of being a new fledgling writer, I have kind of run out of things to blog about. Why should this blog be so narrow focused? The short answer is that it shouldn’t! Long ago I embraced my geek inner self and I see no reason that I cannot put it on full display. Besides, if you know the author from aspects other than writing, you may gain a deeper insight as to how or why I write the way I do. It’s time to examine the geek side and embrace how awesome it is. The old high school stereotype couldn’t be farther from the truth. I’m more than just a writer. I am a geek.

What use to be Chronicles of a Writer has now become Geekology.

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Application for Sainthood (flash story)

This is the last semi-journal entry of the adventures of Karamus as I had to stop playing the game due to life getting busy. He was incredibly fun to play and I hope you had fun reading about his adventures.

-Lucas

So I’m saving people now. I guess I’m not as cold hearted as I wanted to be. When the fire and earthquakes took root in the city of Cauldron, the people lost their minds. The mass hysteria took a special place in my chaotic heart. You get to see how people truly are, their inner self when faced with chaos. Apparently I like to save people who are in dire peril. Sigh.

When everything started, my first thoughts went to my sister and her inability to get away without help. I took off, leaving the group behind to be the goody-goody heroes they think they are. As I raced down the street, I came across Ashton who said Karissa was still at the house. In our moment of meeting, the screams of children filled my ears as some sodding moron was just about to drop an infant out of a window of a burning building. Like I said, the true nature of people shall be revealed.

So as the sod dropped the kid, I dashed over and caught him in mid-air and tumbled to the ground no worse for wear. A second person cried that some girl was trapped inside the burning building. Really? Why the hell would you leave the kid inside a burning building? Cursing, I raced inside to look for the kid, which I found in the middle of an inferno of burning keepsakes. I picked up the whiny thing and turned to leave but that’s when the building collapsed on top of us. Great. Is there some cosmic novelist who is getting a kick out of this? I mean really.

With my toes on fire, I managed to just get a hold of the teleportation scroll that I had in my pouch. Using my feet as a source of light, I was just barely able to read the scroll and picture the Silver Phoenix house in my mind. A moment later, all was well. I handed the kid over to the Archers and told Karissa that we were getting the hell out. Seeing as how she couldn’t really move, I grabbed a nearby wagon outside and started to get her loaded up and sent out of the city.

With that taken care of, I met back up with the group to find out what was going on now. Apparently, there was a lot of talking about what to do and not a lot of action. And they call themselves heroes. Feh. I managed to talk some sense into them that we should go save the Archers as I recalled that it had been requested earlier. Why does the bad man have to come up with the idea to save people. Maybe this world is screwed more than we thought.

Along the way via flight, we came across another burning building with more burning people in need of saving. Naturally, the fire resistant one was elected to go in, find the burning people and save them. Why! Oh gods, why me?

I did it anyway. Looked like it could be fun.

So with a whole family now saved I was pretty sure my place in heaven was pretty secure. With that, we moved on to the Archers’ house by the lake. They were outside already and just as we got there, and I swear that novelist has a sodding sense of humor, the mythical lake monster popped out of the water like a jack-in-the-box. The mere sight of it killed the Archers instantly. Really? Even Seen, Shean, whatever his name was dead. Should have stuck with adventuring I say.

So we fought the thing, and it was more kitten than tiger as we once against saved the day and whipped that poor creatures tail back to the seven layers of hell. By my count, 12 people saved, 6 morons dead, and 1 big dead fish. Sainthood, here I come!

Speak of, this is my application for sainthood, by Karamus

So, the group decided to save people. I’m not against this idea, it certainly makes us look good in the public eye which is always needed for people of my line of work. With the lake creature dead, we headed to the skies and began looking around for citizens in danger. The first of a long list of deeds was witnessing a building collapse onto top of a poor, innocent family. We came down and landed at the rubble and began looking for survivors. With my keen perception abilities I was able to locate the family members quickly and showed Jarvyk and the bear how to best lift the debris so we could get the people out with causing any additional problems. Due to my quick reactions, we were able to save all of the family members.

Once the people were safe and on their way out of the city, we took to the skies once more and looked for more citizens to save. It would not take us long. A fissure and cracked open the ground, trapping a handful of people at the bottom. I realized that, due to the depth of the fissure, we would have to fly down and carry everyone up in order to save them all. Acting quickly, everyone but Bransen made their way down and started to ferry people back up. Greybeard used his mind bending teleports to assist as well after a bit of instruction by me. In less than a minute we were able to get everyone up and out of the fissure before it closed back up.

With those people saved and sent on their way out of the city, we took to the skies once more and, surprise, we found another problem. This time it was a large stampede of livestock moving down the road. We needed to act quickly to make sure no one got trampled by the animals, but the group couldn’t decided the best way to stop stampeding animals. But I did. Withdrawing my wand of web, I activated the wand and dropped an expansive webbing of goo which brought the livestock to a halt. Now, it was my plan to release the web a few seconds later so that we could direct them out of the city, but the wand stopped working and the livestock panicked.

Then the ground erupted.

We all managed to avoid the fire and chucks of rock but the livestock panicked even further and since the webbing was destroyed by the fire, they started their stampede up in the opposite direction. With quick thinking, I took flight and got in front of the stampede as Jarvyk took hold of the lead animal and I directed him on how to best lead the animals out of the city. It was a wild ride but once against, we succeeded.

With that taken care of, we headed back into the city and started looking for more people to save. A few blocks later we came across a group of people who were all standing in place and not moving. The group got in close and quickly realized that there was cooled magma all around. I managed to calm people down to the point were we could carry them out of the area to safety. Once they were on their way out of the city, we started looking for more areas of danger.

Ultimately it began to occur to me that the more we looked, the more problems we found. The biggest problem of the day occurred when a rock slide caused a massive blockage of the escape route out of the city. With tons of rock in the way, the only way the normal people could get through was to clear a path. I quickly pulled my wand of bull’s strength and went to work enhancing several people nearby to get them to help clear debris. Greyback went to work disintegrating a starting point and we did that hard work of clearing away. With a whole lot of people helping us, we managed to get done what would have taken normal people five times as long. It was a shining moment for me.

Satisfied that we had saved who we could, we made our way out of the doomed city ourselves to the north we a large group had set up camp along with Karissa and the Archers. As we settled down in the Silver Phoenix Camp to rest after a hard day’s work of saving people, I spotted the old red dragon circling the city looking for something. I found it interesting that the first time I met this group was when the dragon had come about. The circle is now complete. Time to put the final stamp on this play and defeat a dragon. But first, a good night’s sleep.

Once the dragon is defeated, I would like my coronation to be presented by 75 woman…all naked….my robes should be red silk. None of that velvet stuff as it makes my skin break out……and….a gold scepter…with diamonds…no, diamond clusters…..and good leather pants….black of course….um…followers…of gold…and…puppies….(writing scribbles off)

Headless Government (flash story)

This is the third of the third set of adventures of Karamus as told by an older and more bitter version of himself in a semi-journal format. These are written for fun so enjoy.

-Lucas

Ah, the fight in the church. Where the wannabe assassins made their last-ditch effort to take us out and failed miserably. When we heard the intruders, I made a flip of my ring and went invisible as everyone else starting casting their helpful spells. Once that was done, I crept out of the back room and down the hallway to the door that led into the main worship room and damn it all, the door was shut. With a sigh I opened the door and immediately ducked my head as this sickly green ray shot over my head. I looked over to the wall to see where I saw a tiefling climbing along the wall.

Jarvyk made his way to the opposite door leading into the main room a moment later and drew everyone’s attention, rightfully so, as he came in riding the fuzzy back of his bear. You know, that would make a good rug someday…

Anyway, as the assassins converged on the paladin, I saw an opening on one of the half orcs and made my move. I dashed across the room and jumped up onto the dais in mid-stride. Along the edge I ran and just as I reached the mercenary, I jumped off in a twisted flip, drawing Dawnstar as I landed on the ground behind the mercenary. With a flick of my wrist and followed through and pierced the armor of the half orc who howled in pain. A moment later a large blue and ugly came out from invisibility behind me and swung a huge sword but missed me completely. Apparently the mayor of the city had made a pact with the ugly stick and joined the side of evil.

The rest of the group did ok. Ashton was walking through fire, Greybeard was trying to disintegrate things and Jarvyk was riding fur. Then Jenya came out. She is certainly prettier when she’s mad and boy, did those mercenaries not stand a chance against that mace or my rapier. It was a dance of death and we won handily. The blue and ugly tried to make his escape by flying up to the outside and atop the building but Greybob and Ashton stopped him cold. He tried to plead for his life-like a coward and Ashton killed him for it. A little bloodthirsty of the necromancer….now if that wasn’t a weird statement, I don’t know what is. I should say he is acting more normal to what he should be doing.

Regardless, the assassins are dead and the city is leaderless. Talk about my type of situation. I wonder if I can get a two for one deal on politicians this year…

__________________________

Karamus rubbed his eyes and closed the journal. He knew something was missing, some piece of his past that would explain the events of the present. His old mind raced through the possibilities but there were too many encounters to recall, the downside of being an adventurer. There was someone who would know, however, and he sighed at the thought. “I would rather get beheaded again.” he muttered and sat at his chair, opening the next journal. He hoped it wouldn’t come to that.

__________________________

Three days later after the venture down in oblivion, Jenya told us that a meeting was going to be taking place with all of the nobles of the city to discuss who would lead now that the death of the mayor was known. I sighed at the thought of hanging around a bunch of nobles and politicians. I hate politics. If you don’t like a guy, just kill him. Sure as hell easier than trying to blackmail him screwing the maid to his wife for a bunch of money. Just kill them all and take their money. You see? So much easier.

So during the meeting it came up that a council of elder format might be better for the city. I say hells yes. More than one politician to bride and generally for cheaper since there is competition. As my thoughts raced over the possibilities of corrupting a new city government, some squealing voice boomed out over the room to kill the phoenix. I dropped my head and sighed. Really? I thought we killed all you guys already.

This time it was a bunch of mercs and a derro who lead the assault. This fight actually proved a bit more challenging as several of the attackers had training in the ways of dirty fighting. It is a special form of fighting for sure and these guys had just enough to expect my various forms of fighting. Quite annoying really. Thankfully, they didn’t really have an answer for a huge bear and a paladin rider. Rogue or fighter, it all tastes the same going down for the bear.

When the fighting was done, we got back with some of the nobles at the church. Lord Taskerhill tried to blame the attack on us and went storming off. Frankly, I think he is one of the bad guys now. Certainly worth keeping an eye on him. Anyhow, we tried to get the discussion going again when a small tremor shook the place a bit followed by a second, more powerful one. Hastily we made our way outside only to get thrown down to the ground with a really strong earthquake. It then occurred to me that the city sits right on a dormant volcano.

Really? You are going to destroy the city by awakening a volcano?

Brilliant idea actually…

Assassin Convention (flash story)

This is the second of the third set of adventures of Karamus as told by an older and more bitter version of himself in a semi-journal format. These are written for fun so enjoy.

-Lucas

With the undead demon things destroyed, Bransen went over to inspect the statues that lined the room. His guess, rightfully so, was that they were people turned to stone rather than carvings. It made sense based on the level of detail but then, in his usual manner, thought it would be a great idea to set them free. What? Set free a moron who was stupid enough to get himself turned to stone to begin with? No thank you. Save your spells for us. So I’m selfish, is it really a big surprise?

With that stupidity dealt with, we moved on to the next down shaft which we determined to be too far down to climb with a rope via a sun rod. So Greyrod granted us all levitation so we could go down the shaft easier. After fifty some odd feet, we came upon a door marked OBLIVION. Jeez, oblivious don’t you think? I mean really, you don’t see a thieves guild putting a sign up their front door saying THIEVES HERE, COME AND ARREST US. The quality of evil doers these days has really begun to decline. How can they be surprised when adventurers show up at their doorstep every other day. BECAUSE YOU ADVERTISED YOU SOD!

Anyways, I got to work on the door and to my surprise; it was a masterful lock with a magical trap. Well, it was pretty easy to see that the trap was tied to a statue of a beholder with gems in the eye stalks. Once that was taken care of, I spent several seconds to unlock the door open. It was a tough door, I will have to definitely take notes on that and have one built later.

Once inside, we found some more statues of various creatures as well as two paintings, one of which was of a woman in a soul cage and she looked familiar to me. I thought for a moment and then remembered that her name was Celeste and was an associate of Kort during the whole save the splintershield mission he was on. Someone mentioned that she was actually in the painting via some magical effect. So, like the good people we are, we took her painting off the wall and stuffed it into a bag of holding. I hope she doesn’t have to breath…let’s not dwell on that.

With all of that taken care of, I moved over to the main door which had the same locking device that the previous door had. Again it took only a matter of seconds to unlock the door. When I got the door open and peered inside, I really wished I hadn’t. It was a ritual room with the big symbols, candles and sacrifices. At the center was a huge beholder and the deflated skin of Vhalantru. Creepy skin wearing freak.

It was kind of obvious that we opened the door and so when it saw me, it conjured a four-legged monster of flaming fur and acid drool to attack me. I initially went on the defensive, backing up as to let the thing through the doorway. I called out to the rest to go deal with Vhalantru as I fought the flame beast. That damn thing was tough but after nearly a minute of constant acrobatics, I finally fell the damn thing. When I got back to the door, I found it closed again. It took several tries but I finally got the damn thing open and when I got inside the room, I found everyone minus Greyroot and a dead beholder. When I asked where the mind bender had gone, they said he fled in the opening moments of the fight.

Odd, I don’t remember him leaving while I was outside the room. The nerve, to leave us hanging in the middle of such a dangerous fight. I was furious. I may make poor decisions from time to time, but to ditch people while in a fight is bad news when those people survive the fight. Careless decision… cause when people survive, they want revenge and they want it out of your hide. Never leave people alive when you can leave them for dead.

_________________________________

The old cansin set down the journal and began to shift through the drawer until he produced another book. He flipped through its pages for several moments and then nodded to himself in approval. He slipped the book into his bag and made his way out of the house and onto the streets of Sigil.

He eventually made his way back home which was as he left it. Stepping inside he found the house in disrepair, an obvious sign that someone had gone through his things. He walked over to his den which was in the same state as the main room. The cansin began cursing as he tried to clean up a bit so he could sit in his old leather chair.

Once seated, he pulled the book from his bag and opened it up and began reading over his next series of journal entries.

_________________________________

The next day we awoke in the chamber where we had fought the beholder that was quickly becoming a rotting corpse. In his usual annoying happy way, Bransen said that he had breakfast for us and through his magic, produced a feast of food. I guess he can be usual from time to time. We ate, we drank and just as I was getting comfortable, that sodding mind bender decided now would be a good time to talk to me in my head.

He was checking on me to see if I lived through the fight. I gave him a piece of my mind for ditching me in a fight. And so, instead of making him cry and flee like I had hoped, he decided to teleport back into the room to talk with the group. Sigh. Why do the planes hate me so?

So we talked, Jarvyk and I agreed on something for once and probably last time that what Greybird did was inexcusable. I didn’t want anything more to do with the freak but the rest of the group was willing to forgive. So with all of that nonsense done, it was time to get the hell out of the room and do some more exploring of the dungeon we were in. It took some time but I managed to get pass the locked doors and traps with only a few bruises. With our fly spells in place, we moved into the shaft that led up to the exit and down into the depths of the dungeon. It was at that point that a sickly green ray came raining down from above and killed Ashton instantly, his body floating down to the bottom of the shaft. Oh well.

Apparently the assassination attempts have begun and we had spellcasters as the first dish. Jarvyk and I flew up and engaged the casters in melee combat which thankfully, is not their area of expertise. Their deaths were satisfying as they sank down to the bottom of the shaft. With the fight completed, we collected Ashton’s body and decided it would be best to speed our way to the church to ask Jenya if she could resurrect Ashton. Greyhawk said he could go to the house and we told him that it wasn’t a good idea since the assassins would obviously be there. So where did the moron send us? To the house of course. And who was waiting for us when we appeared in the house? The assassins. I swear to the gods the and Lady herself that when this is all said and done I will shove that arrogant self-centered brain right up his ass if we live through this.

Naturally we ended up in another fight and for the second time today without Ashton. It sucks. I never realized how much he brings to a fight. Huh, did I just think that? Remind myself to slap myself later. Anyhow, they were dwarves this time and we spanked them all the way back to the mines. With that settled, we hastily made our way to the temple, perhaps a little hastily as we got spotted by some of the half orc mercenaries that were patrolling the city, no doubt looking for us. A quick run through the alleyways of the city and the half orcs lost the trail. They must be all muscle and no brain.

We met with Jenya who, being the prepared one, was ready to raise the dead as soon as we walked in the door. Considering that had been happening in the past few days, I’m wouldn’t be surprised either. She cast the ritual and brought Ashton back who was quiet disoriented at the whole situation. It was then, naturally, that the next group of assassinations came crashing into the temple. Ah, more people to kill and it isn’t even lunch time yet.

The Brewing Storm (flash story)

This is the first of the third set of adventures of Karamus as told by an older and more bitter version of himself in a semi-journal format. These are written for fun so enjoy.

-Lucas

The old cansin looked over his shoulder as he opened the door to the bedroom back at the tiefling as she slept soundly. He exited the room and made his way down the hallway back to the den where he went through the desk and found an old book which he blew the dust off of. He then settled down in the chair and opened it up, “There has to be something here about that blasted group below Cauldron…” he mutters and began to read.

Well, we finally have gotten back to Cauldron from our little adventure to Sigil and I must say, it is different now that my sister is here. My long journey to set her free has been finished and I suddenly find myself without a goal. Well, there is the Silver Phoenix still and their goal to stop the city from being destroyed and their souls enslaved and such. I figured, what the hell, these guys certainly bring a ton of money my way.

So after settling back in, we got a summons from Tyro the dwarf merchant wanted to see us about a job that he needed done. All hush-hush and such. So me and the boy went back to the group, picked them up and headed off to talk to a dwarf. I’m starting to get annoyed by dwarves.

Turns out Tyro was actually Meerthan in disguise. I need to remember to talk with him about his choice of disguise and how dwarves aren’t the best option to go with. Anyhow, he explained a chap named Fario had been spying and got pinched and was now being interrogated by the Last Laugh. I couldn’t help but show my joy at the news of this event. I can strike at the Last Laugh Guild and get paid? How does this get any better?

Naturally the group agreed to free Fario before he coughed and headed out to the safe house that he was being held in. We argued for a bit on the best way to get the poor bastard out and settled on the magical recon first. Bransen used his locate object spell to narrow down the search and then Greymouse peaked inside his brain…er, used his brain to peek inside the house. I don’t know what the frak he does honestly. He could have been mentally undressing all of us…no, no no…damn, didn’t want that imagine in my head at all.

Back to the topic at hand. Greyrat stated that he could produce a doorway into the room that had Fario in it. We all agreed and got ready. He then mentally produc…ah gods damn it. We teleported into the sodding room where we caught the woman by surprise and convinced her at my sword point that it was a good idea to surrender which she was all to happy to agree to.

With Fario and the lady in tow, we made our way back to Meerthan who was happy and shocked that we had completed the task so quickly. Fario then explained that some sort of meeting was going down at House Rhiavadi and all of the big players were going to be showing up. So naturally in our desire to…help…people, we agreed to figure out what was going on at the meeting. Yeah, and guess who got stuck with the stake out duty? Yeah, me.

So I spent half the day sitting on a rooftop scooping out the building. The damn thing was a fortress with hundreds of little security features that would make a shadow agent blush with envy. Not that I blush… shut up. The point being that the only way inside, frankly, was to kick in the front door after having waded through a score of half orc mercenaries. So Greyhampster did his mental peek-a-boo thing again and that’s when the whole mess became clear. All of the big wigs in the city with a black heart were at this meeting and they wanted to make sure that their final event was going to go off without a problem. And that meant putting a stop to the one group stupid enough to throw wrenches. Which meant that everyone we had messed with from start till now was at the meeting and all of them had business with us and it was now open season on all silver phoenixes. I just got off the damn dead book. I don’t need to get back into it just yet.

My second thought was that of my sister and how she needed to get clear of the city in a hurry. Oh yeah, and that group of squatters too. We got them ushered off to an inn with a monkey and then decided that we should go chat up the one guy who wasn’t at the meeting, the mayor. Time to shake up the politics.

___________________

Karamus set the book down for a moment and pondered the events involving Vhalantru so many years ago and the situation that he was in now. Someone was after him and it was connected to those events. If only he could put the two together. He shook his head slowly and rubbed the bridge of his nose as he thought. With no new revelations, he popped open the diary again and went to the next entry.

___________________

We arrived at Vhalantru’s manor with no problems, like anyone in this city could stop us anyway. A quick knock by Jarvyk at the door proved useless. Imagine that. It was Greymouse that actually sprung into action, using his mind powers to look into the house to find Vhalantru. Still creeps me out when he does that. But imagine the potential in the hands of a master rogue. Devastating thought isn’t it? Yeah, I thought so too. Anyhow, he relayed to us that he saw a doppelganger in the main room on the third floor and some baby beholders on the second. Jarvyk finally got over himself about breaking and entering when he realized we didn’t have to break anything to get inside. Mind power dimension door. Still a cool idea I say.

Once we teleported inside, I went to stab the thing with Daystar but the sodding thing dodged it, while I was invisible. Inconceivable. No matter though, Greyrat was quick to dominate his mind like a puppet master, which brought about a round of interrogation with someone forced to talk to us. I was so disappointed. No torture, no breaking finger bones, no suffocation, no sleep deprivation, no fun. At least it was quick. We found out that Vhalantru hired Gortio the doppelganger a few years back to do some work, and with a wicked sense of humor, used a ritual to bind the soul of a demon to Gortio. Currently Vhalantru, as Gortio explained, was in Oblivion attempting to do the same thing to himself but with a more powerful demon. Moron. I mean really, why bind your soul to a demon? The side effects, as Gortio displayed, would be just bad. I say just go find a succubus and a warm bed. So much more fun unless you get the filth, and then it isn’t so much fun.

He told us that the entrance was below the mansion, and since we pretty much got what we needed, we told him to stay put and then teleported down stairs. The damn mind bender screwed up and put us right on the damn stairway, right in view of the baby beholders and the half orcs. Moron. So we ended up in a fight where Ashton had a bone to pick… Get it? Necromancer? Bones? Sigh, forget it.

He was attacked by like 10 of those baby beholders. They threw a lot of magic at him but couldn’t finish him off, and all they ended up doing was making him mad. So as Jarvyk and I fought the two half orcs at the first floor, Ashton threw a fireball at the closely grouped beholder babies and fried them like catfish. Naturally, nothing goes easy for us as the explosion brought out the other ten guards on the ground floor. All I had to do was pretty much sit in one spot and let them run by one by one as I stabbed them dead. Oh yeah, Jarvyk helped too.

With the guards dead, we moved on into the wine room which had some really good old wine and a secret door down into the depths of Oblivion. I had some wine first and then went through the door to a hole in the flood that led down. After a short rope climb down, I came face to face with three zombies. Not thinking much of it, I began to attack them as the rest of the group climbed down the rope. Then Jarvyk joined the fight. After we dropped the first zombie, it exploded. That was a first for me. Then it transformed into a demon. Another first for me. All the better though as I could actually stab their kidneys and actually cause them pain. Zombies just don’t give the same expression of absolute horror when they get shived. A shame really.