Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Belgariad by David Eddings

Today, I'm going to talk about my favorite book series of all time, and its subsequent sequels, prequels, and companion text. This was, of course, none other than the epic fantasy series "The Belgariad" by David Eddings. Though Brandon Sanderson is my favorite author, the Belgariad is undoubtedly my favorite series, mainly because of the nostalgia attached to it.

I grew up with these books. Right now, I'm on my sixth reread of the entire collection of books set in that world, about two-thirds of the way through it. I've read and reread these books over a period of ten or so years, and have loved them more and more with each return to their beautiful story.

The first line of the first chapter (barring the prologue, which is sort of like a history article that explains the creation mythos) is: "The first thing the boy Garion remembered was the kitchen at Faldor's farm." That line, for the past ten years, has been my entrance into a familiar world filled with characters, places, and scenes that I love dearly, almost as if I had experienced them myself.

Our main character is a farm boy named Garion, and we see the expanding world of each novel through his inexperienced yet determined-to-understand eyes. Yes, it's a cliche--a farm boy (oh, and did I mention he's an orphan too?), but this was back in the 1980's, when this was what fantasy was--the classic quest story with the orphaned boy destined for greatness. And this is still the best version of that classic story I have ever read and probably will ever read.

David Eddings is a master of dialogue. These books are so unbelievably's not even funny. No, I lie, it is. His dialogue is hilarious. He does banter better than almost anyone I've ever seen in fantasy, and I am consistently amazed at how well he can characterize people who are (to an extent), sort of cliches.

For a long time, I've tried to see if I could get some of my friends to read this series. At first, one of them was willing to try, though it is a long series (five books, and then a sequel series of five more, the Malloreon), and they seemed to be liking it. But it turned out that it just wasn't their thing, and I was discouraged. I kept wondering if these books weren't as good as my nostalgia was making them out to be, and the only reason I liked them so much was because I had grown up reading them. But then I remembered the Facebook group I'm a part of: "Got Belgariad?". There are hundreds of people in that group that love this series as much as I do, and that was good enough for me.

But then my brother started reading the books. And he loved them.

And then one of my best friends started reading them, and loved them too.

One of the greatest feelings in the world is sharing art that you love with someone close to you and them loving it as much as you do. I've so enjoyed talking to my brother and my best friend Miranda about this series and these characters. I also sort of envy them--they get to visit it for a first time, and I can only read it again. But it's okay, I can live vicariously through their experience.

So, in close, this series, the Belgariad by David Eddings, is incredible, and is filled with lovable characters, witty dialogue, beautiful use of language, amazing world-building, and a gripping story with an epic scope. Do yourself a favor and try them out.

And remember...never forget the cabbages!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Anywhere 2014

This year was a year of change.

I graduated high school, along with an amazing group of other teenagers that I believe will do great things in this world for the Lord. I struggled with mistakes, and I learned from them, pressing on against the things in this world that would hold me back. I watched as some of the people dearest to me began to move on with their lives, going forward towards their dreams. Some of those people moved away. Some stayed in little old Janesville. I try to stay in touch with all of them, but sometimes you just can't continue to have as close a friendship as you once did, because of the distance.

For the past three years, my friend group and I have had a short phrase that we used to categorize our year. In 2012, that was YOLO, which was sort of ironically chosen because of how much all of us thought that phrase was dumb. We ended up embracing its simpler meaning, and had all sorts of crazy adventures that year. That year was the year I began to develop the deepest friendships I'd ever had before, and continue to have.

Next, it was Younglife in 2013, referencing the Anberlin song of the same name. We continued to have crazy adventures, but this was the year that most of my dearest friends graduated and started to go in a different direction with their lives. The bridge of the song Younglife perfectly illustrated my hopes and fears at that point in my life: "All those days gone forever, wonder if we're gonna ever see all our Younglife friends that we made again. Have we all lost connection? Life blows in all directions. Memories bring us back to where we've been."

This year, it was a few months before we ended up deciding on a phrase. Most of the people who had been such a vital part of my life before had begun to move away or just not be in touch as much, and so there was less of that "every Sunday afternoon we hang out" mentality, as we all began to grow up. Finally, in the driveway of one of my best friends', we came up with our theme for the year. Anywhere.

You see, my two best friends in all the world--Anna and Miranda--were moving to Moberly, Missouri, to go to a fantastic Bible college. And the clock kept ticking away the time we had left together. We decided there and then that ANYWHERE we were, we'd still be side by side. Things were going to change, but we would still keep in touch. We would still be the best of friends. And we would still support each other and love each other in everything the others did.

The months passed, my two best friends moved away. I had a really hard time without them. And I mean really hard. I was very depressed for a while, and though I probably didn't outwardly show it, the more time that passed not having seen them, the harder it got. Finally, they came back in October for a weekend, and I got to hug them and laugh with them again. It was wonderful. But it was also very obvious that things had changed, and they could never go back to being quite like they had been. And I had to deal.

I didn't deal very well at first. To be honest, I was sort of bitter. Though I desperately wished I could drop everything and go to Missouri, I knew that it made no sense. Everything that I did, everything that I was here in Janesville. The best plan...the thing that made the most sense for my life was to stay here. And so, I worried. I worried that my two best friends would move on with their lives completely, and little old me would be left behind, wondering where they had gone off to.

I was very bitter, with God, with everyone around me. I just couldn't understand why any of this had to happen. Why couldn't everyone just stay in Janesville and life could stay the same? But then the Lord started working on my heart. Things are going to change, Caleb, He said. There is nothing you can do about that. All you can do is continue as you always have. Being the person I created you to be.

I realized something. Who was I to think that I knew better than God in this master plan? Who was I to believe that I knew how to tell the story better? The only thing I could do was continue to love and support everyone around me, giving them encouragement. That's the thing I'm good for. God didn't want me to be bitter. He needed me to be supporting, encouraging. He needed me to be there for people. And I was too busy wallowing in my depression to see that. Until now.

I'm okay. Yes, things have changed, and yes, I still hope that when we're all adults, some of us can live nearby each other and continue to be the best of friends, and then our kids can be friends, and it'll be awesome...but I'm okay. I'm okay with what God has planned for my life, whatever kind of crazy ups and downs it holds. If there's one thing I know, it's that life is God's story, and the only thing I'm good for is being a part of that story the best way I know how.

So, as Anywhere 2014 comes to a close, I take a look back and realize how great my life was...and how great my life continues to be, despite the changes. My best friends are still my best friends, and we've changed...but no matter where we go from here, we'll still be side by side. Goodbye, Anywhere, and hello 2015, whatever you will be titled.

And thank you Lord, for this breath I'm breathing, this life I'm living, this song I'm singing, and this story we're telling.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

I Won #NaNoWriMo

Hey guys, guess what? I won National Novel Writing Month!

Yes, I wrote 50,000 words in the month of November. It was both easier and harder than I thought it would be, in different ways. It was easy to write that much, because I write pretty fast anyway, and had already outlined the story extensively, but it was hard to write that much without editing. I ended up getting to a point where I knew I would have to go back and change major plot things, but I had to keep going, because I was behind. 

I learned a lot about my process during the month--namely that I can't not edit while writing. I can't turn off my internal editor, and that's not a bad thing. It makes my prose pretty workable by the time I get done with a chapter, but it also makes writing a chapter take a little longer. When I was completely focused on writing during November, that wasn't that big of a deal, and I could more or less churn out a chapter every three to five days or so. But now that I have to work on other things, such as my music, college preparation, and other projects, I'm not going to be able to finish chapters as frequently. But that's okay. It works.

As people have been reading along online and critiquing To Look Skyward, I've caught a lot of things that I need to fix. Unfortunately, I need to keep this book plodding slowly forward, so I don't get stuck in an eternal rewrite. That means I'm going to have to ignore the glaring mistakes and focus on making the next parts of the book better. I can come back and fix everything in a second draft. So, off I go! Wish me luck. 50,000 words down, lots more to go. This is definitely going to be a thick book. But it is an epic fantasy... So there's that.

Friday, November 21, 2014

NaNoWriMo Week #4

This is it. Crunch time. I have eight days to get fifteen thousand words in. I did about three thousand today, and so I'll have to do about two thousand a day to get finished on time. Unfortunately, my two best friends ar going to be in town, so distractions will be many. BUT I WILL OVERCOME!

Wish me luck.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

NaNoWriMo Weeks #2 and #3

Well, it's November 20th. And I'm behind. I have ten days left to get to 50k, and that means 2,000 words a day--which is what my goal was in the first place, but that didn't happen. I hit a wall for a little while, stuck on a chapter that I had to fix before I could move on. Something just wasn't right about the first part of the piece, and until I went back and made it tolerable, I couldn't keep writing. So that cost me some time and some words. Also, life distracts sometimes. Things happen. But I will win NaNoWriMo, I'm confident of this. And--call me crazy--but I think I'm gonna do another 50k in December.

Yes, I'm insane.

But this book is definitely going to be longer than 50k, and it may even be longer than 100k. Only time will tell. And I don't have that much time left, so back to work. No, what am I saying. Sleep first, then writing tomorrow. I'm not that insane.

As a side note, I totally got Johann Johannsson's new score for the movie The Theory of Everything, and it is fantastic and is now a part of my To Look Skyward playlist. Seriously, check out his stuff, he's an amazing composer. (Enjoy the soundtrack below.)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

NaNoWriMo Week #1

Well, it's Sunday afternoon and I'm right on par for my NaNoWriMo novel, To Look Skyward. 15,000 or so words, and almost three chapters in (finishing up that third one today), and I'm excited for this story. Of course, my initial ideas were shifted around and rearranged in my head even with the first words written down, and I expect that to happen more and more as I get closer to the end, but I am still super pumped to write this book, and I am super pumped for people to read it!

For this project I decided to try something a little bit different on the critiquing end--I uploaded my chapters to Google Docs and shared the links with my writing group and on a writing forum I'm a member of, allowing them to comment while while reading to give me their honest reactions as they happen. It's been super helpful so far, and I'm definitely going to keep using it. From the initial feedback I've gotten on my first chapters, the book is going well, and though there is obviously some work to do on the editing side of things--for example, I didn't get the characterization of my main character quite right in the first chapter--but that is the nature of first drafts.

(Note: If you're at all interested in reading my novel as I write it and giving me feedback, send me a text, Facebook message, email, or direct message on Twitter and let me know, I'll get you the links. I'd really appreciate any suggestions you could give me.)

So far in November, I've been listening to a custom playlist I put together just for the writing of To Look Skyward, including music from Rhian Sheehan, Johann Johannsson, Hans Zimmer's Man of Steel score (which is the theme album for the world of TLS), and soon Hans Zimmer's Interstellar score. I just finished watching that fantastic movie, and though the soundtrack has yet to be released, it will fit perfectly with the rest of the music I've set aside for TLS, with beautiful piano, organ, and strings. Sorry, I'm a film score buff.

Well, I'm off to do some editing on the first scene to rectify with the prologue I just added, and then I'm off to write more. (Shh, don't tell anyone I'm editing my novel during NaNoWriMo. I'll get in trouble.)

Have a good day, and I'll give you another update in a week!

Friday, October 31, 2014

I'm Writing A Lot

Hello there! It's been a while since my last post, but for somewhat of a good reason: there wasn't a whole lot to talk about. But now there is! And so I will spill the beans.

Writing: During the two weeks my family was on vacation, I wrote a total of 11,068 words, which was fantastic! Obviously not as much as I could have gotten done, but a significant amount when compared to what I usually get done. In that time, I wrote a short story to its completion (Annoyance In The Air, which needs some revision, but should be finished soon), and another short story almost to its completion before I realized that I was going to have to scrap the whole thing because it was way too complicated to be a short story. I also got closer to completing Spend A Winter In Hell, but got stuck on the ending of that, and am going to run it by some people to get their input, and false started another short story that turned out to also be too complicated (this is me trying to put too many magic powers in a short story), but did provide a springboard for a very interesting character arc that I'll use later.

Since then, I've been doing some editing on short stories and my novella, while worldbuilding and outlining for my NaNoWriMo novel, To Look Skyward. I still have a lot of worldbuilding to do before I'll be completely satisfied with everything I need to know about the world, but tomorrow is when NaNoWriMo starts, so I'll have to be quick about that if I want it done before I have to start putting words to paper. All in all, though, I'm very satisfied with how the outlining process has been going. I've done more outlining than I usually do on a project (but recently it has all been shorter stories, so there's that), and I think the first half of the story is pretty solid in terms of story structure as a result. The last half, though... I still need to work on that. I have a feeling that once I hit that I'll either have a wonderful shot of inspiration and figure out the direction I need to go...or I'll need to brainstorm with my writer friends about where the heck I'm supposed to go with it.

Just as an aside, I also came up with a very interesting short story idea a couple days ago, as a result of one of the writing sprints for a NaNo Write-in. I didn't have time to go into it very fully, as I needed to focus on To Look Skyward, but I'm excited to write that in December sometime.

Music: Well, it looks like my plan to go to a recording studio in October has been postponed, because of crazy schedules on both sides, and so that's not going to happen until sometime later. But that's okay. I have recording equipment that suits my needs, and a good program to work with, so I can have fun with demos for now. I've been slowly but surely working on A Promise To Write's demo, but it still needs more work before I'll be satisfied with it. I did make an acoustic demo of my newest song, entitled "The Girl", and so there's that. I really like this song, so hopefully soon I'll release it somewhere. I also have the opportunity to play one of my original songs (with the rest of the worship band accompanying me) at my church this Sunday, so that's exciting. I'll be playing Somebody Has To Start, which is one of my favorites that I've written.

I'm planning on recording a rather special song in early December (after the craziness of NaNoWriMo dies down), but it's a secret as to what it's ultimate goal is, so I will not say anything more.

Reading: If you're at all interested in what I'm reading right now, you can follow me on Goodreads: -- as of now I'm reading through a bunch of different books, some non-fiction, but mostly fiction. Part of that is my annual reread of the Belgariad and the Malloreon series by David Eddings, ten books of absolute awesomeness that formed a significant portion of my childhood.

Listening: So, the other day, I fell in love with a New Zealander composer named Rhian Sheehan. You should go check out his music. Right now. It's so beautiful.


Well, that's about all, so I'll sign off. Hopefully this is interesting to you in some way.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Next (Late) Update

Sorry about the lateness of this post. Well, I would be sorry if anyone ever read this, but whatever. Nothing too crazy has been going on in my life, internet. Just working, making music, and writing fiction. Crazy thing happened, though: my family just left on a two week vacation without me. This is the first time they've done that in...well, ever. So, right now I'm sitting in the living room by myself, after binge watching Legend of Korra, and I'm a little lonely. You don't realize how much you miss talking to your family about things until they're literally not able to talk to you about things.

So, for two weeks, I'm going to be working, writing, making music, and doing the chemistry I should have been doing the last three weeks of September. Hopefully I'll make some progress in all of those areas.

Writing: Clock Strikes Death is finally being read by some critiquers (took long enough) and so I should have some feedback on it soon. Also, I finished To Look Skyward, though it didn't necesarrily turn out how I hoped, and only fueled the fire for a project of mine that's beginning into the outline stage: my NaNoWriMo novel. I decided to write it in the same world as was To Look Skyward, and have those characters be a part of that story. To be honest, since I'm never going to use that short story for anything other than fuel for that story's fire, and I like the title To Look Skyward so much, I'm probably just going to steal that name for the NaNoWriMo novel and scrap TLS Prime entirely. Oh, I've also been in the process of writing a few other short stories that should be finished soon that I'm very excited about, and once I get enough of those, I'll probably release a short little anthology on NoiseTrade (though I'll need to get them proofread and polished up first).

Music: Well, I did actually put one of my songs on YouTube, one I wrote for one of my best friends, Miranda Steiner, for her birthday. You can find that below. (Yes, I know there's buzzing. I don't know what caused it, and it's gone now, so I didn't bother re-recording the entire song). I'm now working on a demo for what is probably my favorite song I've ever written: A Promise To Write. I really like the way it's coming along, and I'm going to get to work on it more tomorrow.

Chemistry: Eh, you don't need to know how far behind I am on that.

Well, that's about all for now, except for one last thing. If you've ever heard of John Maxwell, you'll know what I'm about to talk about. If you haven't, you should, because his speaking is incredible and very inspirational. Well, anyway, he says that everyone should have a Rule of Five. Five things you do every day that will make you successful in what you want to be in life. John's Rule of Five is Think, Ask Questions, Read, File, and Write (those may or may not be in the right order, and there may or may not be an actual right order at all). He challenges others to find their own personal Rule of Five, and to stick with it every day.

This is my personal Rule of Five:

  1. Communicate (with God, through prayer and the reading of His Word, and with those that I love).
  2. Read (fill myself up with stories, life-lessons, and ideas)
  3. Think (think about deep life issues, or story ideas, or the future)
  4. Sing (whether with my voice, or with instruments, just create music)
  5. Write (whether it be song lyrics, non-fiction, a letter to someone I love, or stories)
Obviously, there are a lot of other important things to do during a day, but those I will undoubtedly do because I have to in life. My Rule of Five is a reminder to me to do important things that I may forget to do, but are also vitally important. As of today, I will be doing these five things every day. Or, at least, I will try very hard to. I want to try, at the very minimum, to do it every day for a year. I've been more or less consistently writing lately, but I could stand to do that better as well, and my other four things.

So, wish me luck. I'm off to change the world, one word at a time.

Monday, September 1, 2014

When September (And October And November And December) Ends

It's been a while since I've written, so I decided to pop back in and give all the people who read this (so, almost no one) an update. I've been writing fiction, though not quite as much as I'd have liked to, and though I did finish the first draft of my Clockwork Cowboy story, it took me a lot longer than was expected, and as such, I'm only partially into my new short story, To Look Skyward. It's going to take a bit to get that short story to exactly what I want it to be, but I'm gonna work hard at it. In the meantime, people are reading my novella and giving me feedback, so by the time I get around to the second draft, I'll have some comments to work with. I already know most of the problems with it, but I want some input before I tackle it (that, and it's a good idea to distance myself from the project a little before revising).

Most recently, I've been recording demos of my music! So that's exciting. As you already know if you read the last blog post, I just got some recording equipment and an audio program, so I've been recording music like crazy over the last week. Most of the stuff I've been working on with that is either top secret or still not finished, so I can't really share it, but suffice it to say, it's been coming along great. 

As you may know, I've been struggling with whether or not I was going to go to school right away this semester, or take a semester off to work on writing and music, but that was kind of decided for me a little while ago, as it suddenly was too late to really enroll anymore, and so I am officially taking a semester off! I do have a bit of schoolwork from last year (oh, the joys of homeschool) to finish up as well, and so I'll be using this time to get that done and to focus more on my relationship with God, and my writing and music. 

In October, I get the awesome opportunity to go up to the Upper Peninsula to a recording studio with a friend of mine and record some professional music, so that's exciting. You should be seeing music from me on Noisetrade very shortly. And in November (by which time, I should have all the schoolwork leftover done), I'll be doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for the first time ever. If you don't know what that is, it's a month in which you take the time to write every single day and crank out 50,000 words by the time you're done, starting a new novel on day one and having a completed (or at least 50,000 words worth, if it's going to be longer than that) novel in your hand by day thirty. I'm still torn on what I want to write for this, but I should have it figured out by November. I have two whole months after all.

That's what I keep telling myself anyway.

And of course, in December, all of my friends return from college and I get to see them all again. So that's really exciting. And you just might be seeing some new music around that time as well... More details to follow.

Well, I suppose I should go do something productive with my time. Not that this isn't. But there are other productive things I could do too. So I'm going to do those. The end.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Recording Demos and Other Audio Stuff

Well, the craziness of the summer has finally died down, and I can take a bit of a step back from constant trips and long work hours in between those trips. It's weird that summer is almost over already--but it always happens this way, so I guess I should be used to it by now.

First off, I'm sad. A huge number of my friends just left Janesville for their respective colleges, leaving me and a select few here in the good ol' hometown to keep on keeping on. Among those are my two best friends of all time, Anna and Miranda. So, yeah, I've been kind of bummed lately.

But anyway, let's get away from the sad and talk about the awesome! Before heading on this last camping trip, I ordered an XLR-to-USB cable, because, thanks to Blimey Cow, I had been getting really interested in audio production. Well, that was one of the best ideas I've ever had. Once I got back from camping, I hooked up a microphone to the computer over at church, and spent a few hours recording a song demo. My guitar even has an XLR plug-in, so the sound quality I got from it was actually quite good.

Yes, it was a crappy demo. I'm not very good at sound design (yet), and I have a lot to learn yet recording music, but it was just so cool to hear a song of mine layered with tracks and put together almost exactly as I imagined it. I'm gonna have some fun with this.

No, I will not be putting any of these demos publicly on the internet. They are very bad, as I have already said.

But, I'm starting to have a lot of fun with various audio stuff. My younger brother Chase and I made a short humorous little audio drama the other day, and I had fun messing with different sound effects and voices for characters, so we'll see what the future holds.

Oh, and ummm... I know this is kind of embarassing, but I'm still not finished with the Clockwork Cowboy story. Sorry about that. It's so close, but I didn't quite as much writing as I wanted to done. Hopefully, I'll finish it this week and be able to start on the new short story idea Trevor and I had.

Until then, have fun with your lives. I'll be having fun with mine.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I Am Currently Writing... Clock Strikes Death

Hello there, internet world. Yes, I know I said this was being resurrected and then proceeded not to write anything for weeks. I'm forgetful like that. Anyway, I thought I'd actually write something now, so yeah! That's something, at least. 

For the past few months I've been working on a novella entitled "Clock Strikes Death". As it stands right now, it's about 13,000 words, but it should be somewhere around 18,000-20,000 when it's completed. I haven't been spending nearly enough time as I wanted to writing it (or as much time as should have, for that matter), but it's almost finished now, and I can see the finish line. My plan is to finish the first draft by the end of this week, and then put it aside next week as I head off on the Student Leader Camping Trip. I have another short story idea that I brainstormed with Trevor Sigmund, one of my close friends, that I want to (hopefully) write while I'm there. That should be considerably shorter, however, and I have the entire story pretty heavily outlined in my head, unlike what is usually the case with stories I write. 

After I come back from that trip, I'll give Clock Strikes Death to some alpha readers, get some input back, and then go into a second draft of that story, which will tackle the several structural problems I know exist in the narrative, and probably a few I didn't. After that, I'll give it to beta readers, who will give me final input on whatever else needs to be fixed, and then it should mostly be done. Most of my prose is pretty clean, so after maybe one or two language/prose/dialogue passes after that, I'll probably put it up on Noisetrade, and then I'll start submitting it to some different markets. I hear TOR has a new novella imprint... 

*laugh silently at myself* In your dreams, kid, in your dreams.

For those who don't know, Clock Strikes Death is part of the setting I like to call, "Clockwork Cowboy", which is part of the 374th Cycle mega-setting in which all of my fantasy books (and the ones that my brother Connor, Trevor, and my friend David will eventually write, hint, hint, nudge, nudge) take place. I say Clockwork Cowboy, but that's kind of a silly way of explaining the setting. It is basically a fantasy western/clockpunk setting, which may also seem silly, but is in actuality a fantasy borrowing elements from westerns and incorporating fantastical clockwork-based technology. While writing it, I also realized it had a lot more grimdark-iness than I originally thought it would have, and subsequently scrapped the theme album I had selected for it, Hans Zimmer's score for The Lone Ranger

Also, for those who didn't know, I select theme albums for almost everything I write, film scores that capture the mood I want for that book/world. I still haven't really decided on another one for the Clockwork Cowboy setting, but I do enjoy The Shawshank Redemption, so that may end up being the theme album.

Anyway, I should really get back to Clock Strikes Death, since I only have until Saturday to finish it, and I have plenty of other things to get done this week. Before I go, I will leave you with a little tease of the novella:


A ringing in Declan's ears chimed the hour. Nine o'clock. Time to die.
He jolted upright in his cot, tense, waiting for the inevitable sound of booted feet come to drag him away to Eternity. All was silent, however, save the muted tick, tock of his heart. The prison bars before him were a dark, unfriendly grey that seemed to grin at him like the teeth of an arrowbelly. His cell was cramped and freezing, the fireplace just outside its iron door reduced to ashes and offering nothing in the way of warmth. Just like the one other time he had been unfortunate enough to get himself locked away in one of these bunker-prisons. Declan strained to hear anything that would signal that someone was coming for him. He waited for a minute, then two, then five. A half an hour passed as he listened to the muffled ticking of the second hand, and still no one arrived.
Declan frowned, still laying on his cot. He hadn't seen any human guards since he had been thrown into this dark pit of a prison, and only once had he seen any clockwork--a Sentinel, who had silently performed its duty of giving him a plate of dried rations and a tin cup full of water, and then left, emotionless face haunting as always. He had always hated those cold, emotionless monsters.
Where was everyone? Declan stood to his feet and made his way to the iron bars, holding them tightly with calloused hands. He wore nothing but the underclothes he had been wearing the night before--dark grey shirt and trousers that reeked of sweat. Had they decided to just leave him down here to starve? Ironically, that would be a more certain fate than a bullet to the head, at this point. The only chance he had was in the journey from here to the figurative gallows. He had one more trick up his sleeve-literally-but it relied on the hallway just outside the room adjacent to his cell. If he could just get out there…
Declan cursed himself--not for the first time since his imprisonment--for not seeing the ventilation shaft on the way in until it was too late. If his jailor had fumbled for just a moment longer with his keys, he might not be in this mess right now. He would be halfway to Bunnell Creek, laughing at the stupidity of lawmen.
Well, he wasn't laughing now. If no one came to get him, he was dead. Declan couldn't think of a logical reason why they wouldn't come, but he couldn't help worrying nonetheless. He had bad luck. Blasted horrible luck, at that. Come on…you want to see me suffer, right, Biggs? I know you do. Don't just leave me here; you want to see my face when I die. He couldn't believe he was hoping for someone to try and kill him--it just didn't seem right--but that was the only thing that would save him now.
That ventilation shaft…that was the key. Declan had one Card left, his most valuable. He had saved it for years, never wanting to use it, for fear he would never find another one. They only made that kind of clockwork in Enlord City, and they were one of the most powerful types. Luckily, the guards hadn't taken his boots. They'd checked inside, of course--to make sure he didn't have a hidden weapon of some sort. But almost no one expected a boot to have a secret compartment like his did, holding an item so rare and valuable, men would kill a hundred times over to get their hands on it.
Declan liked to be prepared, even in situations that were out of his control. Especially in situations that were out of his control.
Blessedly, footsteps sounded in the hallway moments later, coming with it a hope of escape. It wasn't the metallic clank of a clockwork, but the booted steps of a man. They were coming to get him. Finally.
Declan reviewed the plan of escape in his mind as the sound grew closer. He could get out of this, if he was clever. The prison was very secure, that much was true, buried in the earth a hundred feet down, but it had one weakness. It turned out that there wasn't much air down in the bowels of Orlam, and so you needed to have some sort of ventilation system to filter air through the tunnels, or else anything stuck down here would suffocate. Not the clockwork, of course, they didn't need air, but anything living. A prisoner lucky enough to get inside that ventilation system could, potentially, make their way to the surface and escape. The only problem was that the shafts used to filter the air were entirely vertical, and a hundred feet high. That meant, despite the route to freedom built into the design, no one had ever successfully made it out alive.
Until today.


Oh, and here's a fake cover I made for it the other day. I obviously can't use this on Noisetrade's someone else's art. But hey, it perfectly gets the theme across, so here you go:

And here is the theme song of the novella. Now that I think about it, Shawshank Redemption is definitely the theme album.

Friday, July 11, 2014

I'm Back!

Yes, it's true, I am resurrecting this blog. For a few reasons: first, I have started to put some of my work out there, and this will be a convenient place to keep those who are interested updated on what I'm doing. Also, I miss blogging. It was fun, and I need to train myself to write things regularly. No, this will not be extensive. I will be updating ONCE a week, and it will basically be an update on what I've been doing, how life is going, and any new projects I have going on. And of course, every once in a while, I'll actually write something poignant or something like that.

It's good to be back.

P.S. Here's the short story I just put out on NoiseTrade: give it a look! :)