Friday, 27 November 2015

New short- The Oath of Sherenith

I've posted up a new short story, "The Oath of Sherenith" This is the first of what will probably be several short stories set in the world of the Thelenic Curriculum, the setting of my novel, "The Wake of Manadar."
This one deals with events that take place some years before those of the book, in the city of Phyre. Others will look at the backstories of minor characters, and there'll be the odd background piece as well for those getting their feet wet.
If you've already bought or borrowed and read "The Wake of Manadar" then thank you very much, and please enjoy the short. If you haven't, then this short contains no significant spoilers for the main story and might give you some idea of what sort of place the Empire of the Thelenic Curriculum is.

Next short up will be a 40k piece, set in the arenas of Commoragh. Until then, remember that the Lily blooms on blooded ground...

Monday, 23 November 2015

Modelling Materials- Trollcast

This model is Kiki Bulldozer, from Raging Heroes. She was part of the first Toughest Girls in the Galaxy Kickstarter, which is now finally starting to move over to full production. If you want to know more about her, you can find her on my Deviantart.

I'm showing her here because the model had one of those little 'gaming accidents' at the weekend. Whilst putting her back in the foam of my KR case, her staff, to which her 'friend' Little Hans is tied, snapped at the weak spot where it meets her hand. I thought that it might be an idea to take the opportunity to talk about the material involved, Trollcast, which is a type of Spincast Resin.

Firstly, overall Trollcast is an excellent material, for example, look at this model:
That's Mad Nurse Bernadette, from the same Kickstarter. When I was building her, those two fingers really worried me, but they've survived building, painting, and gaming with the model no problem. Despite being very light and hard enough to hold very fine detail, Trollcast is also pretty damn tough. Several models have survived drops, other models falling on them, etc. It also takes superglue very well indeed, as well as drilling for pins, so Kiki was simple, if a little nerve-wracking, to fix. There are, however, two 'buts' and one of them is as big as Kiki's.

But #1: Trollcast is an utter, utter git to prepare. Raging Heroes recommend washing it with 'dishwashing liquid' and warm water before painting, but I've had some models which took four or more attempts to get paint to stick to, most notably the models I ended up calling Squad Sisyphus. The good news is that I seem to have found a solution, which is to scrub the models down after washing with Brush Soap. This must be rinsed off thoroughly, but usually does the trick. Any stubborn spots can be scrubbed during the painting process with an old paintbrush and a little more soap.

But #2: Though tough, Trollcast seems rather brittle. Kiki is the first model I've had snap, but during building I've had several weapons, especially the TGG version of lasguns, snap whilst I've been trying to straighten them. The usual hot water method still works, but you have to be extremely careful with it.

I wouldn't let either of these deter you from getting some of these wonderful models, but be aware of the pitfalls of the material, and bear in mind that most of the Heroines are also available in metal. For what it's worth, I'll stick with Trollcast.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

A few thoughts on age and time in fantasy and science fiction.

One of the early complaints about the HBO Game Of Thrones series was that the children, specifically the Starks, were 'too old'. In the books, the older boys were as I understand it about 12, whereas in the show they are clearly in early adulthood, at the very least 16+. Given the amount of sex, violence and in one case involuntary head-transplants they're involved in, this is an understandable decision on the part of the production team. (Similarly, everyone's favourite dragon mistress is well below the modern age of consent on her wedding night)

This whole debate got me thinking, though, about an issue I also ran into whilst writing my own fantasy novel.. The thing is, and please bear in mind that I've not read the books so I can enjoy the series without spoilers, or that 'what the hell' moment my sister who has read them experiences at least once an episode, that we don't know a lot about Westeros in terms of things like its calendar. What does that have to do with anything, you ask, and I'm glad you did. Calculators at the ready.

What we do know is that Westeros' seasons are all kinds of messed up, lasting for years rather than the few months ours do and not even coming in a completely predictable sequence. I'm going to leave an explanation of what that might mean about the orbital pattern and rotation of the planet to people who know a lot more about that sort of thing than I do, and look instead firstly at the year. Let's say a Westeros year is 450 days long, instead of our 365 days. Now lets say Dani gets her first experience with the Kal at the age of 12WY(Westeros years). So, that makes her 12*450, or 5,400 days old on that birthday. On Earth, having lived for the same number of days, Dani would be 5,400/365 or roughly 14.8 years old (i.e. 14EY and 9-10 months) Now, a grown man bedding a girl of not-quite 15EY is still dodgy as anything and would earn the Kal a good few years at Her Majesty's Pleasure if it happened in modern Britain, but by the standards of medieval societies it would be considered fairly normal, bearing in mind that making it to 30EY was a decent innings.

Of course, I've pulled those Westeros figures out of thin air and I have no idea if G.R.R.M. ever addresses the question, but it makes for an interesting exercise. To further cloud the issue, the Westeros day might well not be 24 of our hours and the Westeros hour might not be 60 of our minutes, so this rabbit hole just keeps on getting deeper. Ultimately, with the lack of the sort of absolute reference point of timekeeping that we rely on things like atomic clocks for, determining the real 'age' of any character not living on Earth is an almost impossible proposition. One to think about next time a character is described as being 'about 20'. About 20 of who's years?

Traitor Chimeras

As well as everything else, I also maintain a Deviantart page on which can be found a myriad of my models, mostly for 40k. Whilst this blog is primarily about my writing, I'll put previews of updates to that account on here for convenience. So above is a shot of a couple of new Traitor Chimeras, more details of which can be found here.

As always, please check out the short stories on the right, and maybe even The Wake of Manadar on Amazon. (They actually let you read a fair bit for free).

Friday, 20 November 2015


Well, that took me rather more time than I expected! Anyway, I've completed my second Dr Who crossover short, 'Skylord', this time with Ian Fleming's James Bond, and in a rough approximation of his style. That was pretty challenging, since Fleming is fond of showing off how widely-traveled and knowledgeable he is, two things that I pretty much am not. However, I have the advantage of the Internet.

Anyway, please do take a look, and if you like my writing consider trying my book, The Wake of Manadar, which is going to be popping up here a lot until I write another one.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Welcome to the Thelenic Curriculum, another element in my continuing campaign to promote my book, The Wake of Manadar, without actually spending any money, since I don't really have any!

Yes, boys and girls, that's the sort of excoriating honesty you can expect around here. We all know how annoying promoted tweets and pop-up ads are, so I'm trying to do us all a favour by not using them. Of course there's also the money thing.

On that subject, I'll also be adding new writing here from time-to-time. Some will be fan-fiction, some original pieces. The latter will usually be set in the world of the Thelenic Curriculum and will either be shorts featuring side characters from The Wake of Manadar, or background pieces exploring a little more of the world. I'll avoid spoilers for The Wake of Manadar (hey, there's that link again) and where those do appear, I'll note it clearly in the titles.

Anyway, please excuse the dust and rubble, I'm still working this whole thing out. For now, there's a couple of pieces already up, a Deathwatch short and a fun little crossover of Dr Who and Sherlock Holmes. I plan to do a few of these, each in the style of the original author, so this is my stab at Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

If nothing else, it's an excuse to use 'ejaculated' in a totally non-sexy manner. Shut up at the back.