Tattoos in Fantasy

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I’ve always been intrigued by tattoos. The awesome finality of having your skin inked has made me even more fascinated by traditions where tattoos carry a special meaning, such as the Polynesian cultures.

In my fantasy world of Yos, tattoos carry very particular meanings. Men and women are tattooed with a totem on coming of age, which has a religious meaning and marks inclusion in a particular sect and tradition – men inked on the chest and women on the cheek.

Then, both men and women gain tattoos that show their chosen path in life, their achievements and honours. This is so central to the cultures of Yos that to cover your chest (it’s a warm world) is a sign of deceit. Warriors will only wear armour in full-scale conflict.

In a world where many cannot read or write, the tattoos give a person’s history at a glance, where honour – and dishonour – is written in ink.

Here’s the cover from The Calvanni, that shows some of the tattoos of the Way of the Calvanni – or knife-fighter.

Calvanni front cover (Small)

Do you have any special tattoos that carry a particular meaning for you?

What’s Your Favourite Fantasy Weapon?

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One of the great things about writing fantasy is the fun you can have with weapons:)

In my fantasy world Yos, where my three-book Jakirian Cycle is set, all metal is present as a magical crystal called a glowmetal. These glowmetals are a naturally occurring blend of light and metal that cannot be created or destroyed. So in the development of weapons, swords and metal armour were out. Instead I developed various classes of composite ceramic.

Lanedd – which can be used for blades. This holds a razor-sharp edge, yet avoids the brittleness of pure ceramics.

Mought – incredibly tough material that can be cast into shape as armour or used for the haft of various weapons.

The longest practical lanedd blade that can be cast using the techniques available to Glassmiths in Yos is the ‘calv’ or long-knife. This is where the world ‘calvanni’ or knife-fighter derives.

On Yos the dualist’s weapon of choice is the greatscythe. This is a staff-like weapon with twin concealed blades, one at either end. The blades shoot out and lock into place. It is operated by a mechanism central to the haft . It is also the weapon of the Suul nobility.

I had a lot of fun trying to figure out how the greatscythe worked. After all – with no forged metal – I could not very well have conventional coiled springs.

Here’s what I came up with:

The greatscythe has a central fighting grip and a release grip slightly wider than this which is operated by twisting two rings. These have a thread on the inside that operates a rod moving parallel with the axis of the greatscythe. This movement switches what is known in knife-talk as an Out-The-Front or OTF mechanism.

To make this work I needed two separate types of springs in the internal mechanism, both which had to be some sort of natural material. The first I solved with small bone ‘leaf’ springs for the catches that lock the blade into position. For the main spring that drives the blade back and forward I used a rubber strap-spring.

The greatscythe itself tapers to the ends. Two cover plates attach to a hollow cast core and cover the dual mechanisms – sealed in place with a special mought (ceramic) that melts at a much lower temperature than the mought of the haft. So if the mechanism needs to be fixed the sealing mought can be melted away to free the plate.

What your favourite Fantasy weapon?

 

 

Game of Thrones Withdrawal? Try the Jakirian Cycle for a Heroic Fantasy Fix!

Hi, everyone. Today, Saturday 28th June (US),  the Kindle ebook version of The Calvanni will be free on Amazon!

Click on the Calvanni thumbnail to link to Amazon.

Calvanni front cover (Small)

I’d recommend the book to anyone who likes David Gemmell. Since Gemmell is my all time favourite author, The Calvanni and the other two books in the Jakirian Cycle – Scytheman and Sorcerer – were no doubt heavily influenced by his work. Although, expect a broader canvass and a ton of unique worldbuilding.

Basically, the Calvanni is Heroic Fantasy in world of ceramic weapons where all metal is magical .

In The Calvanni, first of the epic Jakirian Cycle, the cavern-dwelling Eathal have emerged to wreak their vengeance on mankind. The fate of innocent thousands rests on finding the Scion – lost heir to the fallen Empire. The Temple has outlawed the ancient practice of Sorcery. Its Druids dominate religious and secular power, but are ill-equipped to resist an unknown evil once contained by the Emperors.

The Jakirian series is Heroic Fantasy set on the world of Yos, with unique ecology and twin suns, where all metal is magical and control of magic is the basis for power.

Hard-edged. Inspiring. The Jakirian features gritty, fast-paced action. The setting includes fantastical magical artefacts such as glowmetals; ceramic weapons and an array of new creatures. The characters travel through both urban and rural landscapes, where a depth of history and a layering of cultures gives texture.

During Storm Season on the world of Yos, the twin suns eclipse and the planet is plunged into bitter cold. It is usually a time of quiet, when the wise lock their doors, praying for the demons of the red sun-Goddess Uros to pass them by. Yet deep in the Caverns of Maht, Hukum, the Sorcerer-Lord of cavern-dwelling Eathal, plots his vengeance.

Cedrin, a street-wise calvanni (knife-fighter), is summoned to the secret underground tunnels of the Brotherhood of the Night. There, Cedrin is forced to join in a rebellion against the rulers of his native Athria. Caught between the threat of death and his suspicions that all is not what it seems, he must try to keep his friends alive and escape.

Ellen, daughter of the assassinated Athrian Sarlord, is named as heir before his death. She struggles to assert herself as the new ruler, little suspecting the civil war that will be unleashed on Athria within days.

Ellen’s father warned her never to reveal her hidden powers of Sorcery, but as Hukum’s minions close in, it seems she has little choice.

The Jakirian series comprises three books – The Calvanni, Scytheman and Sorcerer. They follow Cedrin and Ellen as they face deeper and more hidden threats. Pursuing them is Raziin, a vicious renegade who seeks to claim the ultimate power of the Spear of Carris for himself. Eventually they must face a final challenge as the most ancient secrets that bind their three bloodlines are revealed.

The Calvanni has attracted readers of all kinds, including readers who, up until now, had never read books from the fantasy genre.

The Jakirian series has given me the room to explore my own unique world and to convey to readers the richness of my flavour of heroic Fantasy.

Check out the great reviews on Amazon and once you’ve read it, post on my blog/website and let me know what you thought about it:)

Enjoy!

Worldbuilding – Unique Weapons

 

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In my fantasy world Yos, all metal is present as a magical crystal called a glowmetal. These glowmetals are a naturally occurring blend of light and metal that cannot be created or destroyed. So in the development of weapons, swords and metal armour were out. Instead I developed various classes of composite ceramic.

Lanedd – which can be used for blades. This holds a razor-sharp edge, yet avoids the brittleness of pure ceramics.

Mought – incredibly tough material that can be cast into shape as armour or used for the haft of various weapons.

The longest practical lanedd blade that can be cast using the techniques available to Glassmiths in Yos is the ‘calv’ or long-knife. This is where the world ‘calvanni’ or knife-fighter derives.

On Yos the dualist’s weapon of choice is the greatscythe. This is a staff-like weapon with twin concealed blades, one at either end. The blades shoot out and lock into place. It is operated by a mechanism central to the haft . It is also the weapon of the Suul nobility.

I had a lot of fun trying to figure out how the greatscythe worked. After all – with no forged metal – I could not very well have conventional coiled springs.

Here’s what I came up with:

The greatscythe has a central fighting grip and a release grip slightly wider than this which is operated by twisting two rings. These have a thread on the inside that operates a rod moving parallel with the axis of the greatscythe. This movement switches what is known in knife-talk as an Out-The-Front or OTF mechanism.

To make this work I needed two separate types of springs in the internal mechanism, both which had to be some sort of natural material. The first I solved with small bone ‘leaf’ springs for the catches that lock the blade into position. For the main spring that drives the blade back and forward I used a rubber strap-spring.

The greatscythe itself tapers to the ends. Two cover plates attach to a hollow cast core and cover the dual mechanisms – sealed in place with a special mought (ceramic) that melts at a much lower temperature than the mought of the haft. So if the mechanism needs to be fixed the sealing mought can be melted away to free the plate.

Anyone else out there had fun with unique weapons?

The official launch of the Jakirian Cycle is being held next Thursday 13th March at Avid Reader in West End in Brisbane. You can register by calling Avid on (07) 3846 3422 or book on the events section of their site. Here is the link.

PS: Don’t forget to enter the Scytheman Book Giveway! I am giving away 5 copies of Scytheman, second in the Jakirian Heroic Fantasy series. The Giveaway ends on 10th March.

 

Scytheman ebook free on Kindle!

Hi, everyone. To celebrate the release of Sorcerer as an ebook, I am offering Kindle copies of the second book Scytheman free for three days from Tuesday 4th February to Thursday 4th February (US time). I am also running a coundown deal on the first book The Calvanni, which will be available for $0.99 from Tuesday stepping back up to its usual price of $4.99 on Friday.

The third book in my Jakirian Cycle, Sorcerer, is available as a Kindle version here on Amazon.

Sorcerer front cover (Small)

Both electronic and print versions of all three books in the Jakirian Cycle – The Calvanni, Scytheman and Sorcerer – should now be up on my Amazon author page.

Here is a run down on Sorcerer. . .

Following on from events in Scytheman, Cedrin travels
north with his small but fiercely loyal court. Ellen, disinherited heir to the
throne of Athria, by his side. Having thwarted renegade Sorcerer Raziin’s plan
to seize the Spear of Carris, they must travel to the Caverns of Ranmyden to
claim it. Ancient forces awaken, intent on possessing the Spear’s ultimate
power. The Behemoth – a malign spirit – seeks to control it through its chosen
wielder Raziin. The hidden temple of Annan-Ac places powerful agents in
Cedrin’s entourage, while the last of the Jakir order, whose power was broken
by the Spear in antiquity, want it destroyed at all costs. If Cedrin can
survive the forces arrayed against him he must make the final choice — destroy
Raziin or use the power of the Spear to save Yos.

Research Vs Writing

I have always been an avid admirer of writers who manage to keep multiple balls in the air at once. They manage new work on one manuscript with research on the next project running at the same time, perhaps with editing of the last manuscript (or two) on the sidelines.

I’ve never been able to do that. I am a great finisher, but getting started on anything is always the hard part for me. I need to build up a substantial head of steam to break the ice on any new project.

That’s the reason why when I am in the very beginnings of a new project, the story research is just about as much as I can manage to squeeze into my brain. This is really just fuel for the formation of the storyline (which I create in a fair amount of detail) and the broader canvass of the world and characters. Every new research direction (very much driven by intuition) is compared against some intangible sense for what the story will be. Then it is either expanded on or discarded. Once in a while I ‘break through’ and major piece of the story puzzle falls into place, inspired by that leap-frogging from research fragment to fragment.

So – is this research writing? It is part of my process. It is crucial to the formation of the story – which I need to have ‘front-loaded’ into my brain before the words begin to flow – yet it is not actual ‘words on a page’.

I guess I’m trying to make myself feel better for this huge chunk of time when I don’t actually write anything other than story notes – while the compelling voices in the wilderness continue cry ‘you must write, write, write!’

So what do you think about the research-writing spectrum? Does research qualify as writing? Or am I just a slack writer who can’t multi-task?

PS: Thanks to everyone who entered The Calvanni giveaway. The winners have been selected by Goodreads and the books will be on their way in the next couple of weeks. We had two winners from the USA, one from Canada, one from the UK and another for India. Congrats!

Free Calvanni eBook!

Hi, everyone. This Friday 22nd November and Saturday 23rd November the Kindle ebook version of The Calvanni will be free on Amazon!

Click on the Calvanni thumbnail to link to Amazon.

Calvanni front cover (Small)

I’d recommend the book to anyone who likes David Gemmell. Since Gemmell is my all time favourite author, The Calvanni and the other two books in the Jakirian Cycle – Scytheman and Sorcerer – were no doubt heavily influenced by his work. Although, expect a broader canvass and a ton of unique worldbuilding.

Basically, the Calvanni is Heroic Fantasy in world of ceramic weapons where all metal is magical .

In The Calvanni, first of the epic Jakirian Cycle, the cavern-dwelling Eathal have emerged to wreak their vengeance on mankind. The fate of innocent thousands rests on finding the Scion – lost heir to the fallen Empire. The Temple has outlawed the ancient practice of Sorcery. Its Druids dominate religious and secular power, but are ill-equipped to resist an unknown evil once contained by the Emperors.

The Jakirian series is Heroic Fantasy set on the world of Yos, with unique ecology and twin suns, where all metal is magical and control of magic is the basis for power.

Hard-edged. Inspiring. The Jakirian features gritty, fast-paced action. The setting includes fantastical magical artefacts such as glowmetals; ceramic weapons and an array of new creatures. The characters travel through both urban and rural landscapes, where a depth of history and a layering of cultures gives texture.

During Storm Season on the world of Yos, the twin suns eclipse and the planet is plunged into bitter cold. It is usually a time of quiet, when the wise lock their doors, praying for the demons of the red sun-Goddess Uros to pass them by. Yet deep in the Caverns of Maht, Hukum, the Sorcerer-Lord of cavern-dwelling Eathal, plots his vengeance.

Cedrin, a street-wise calvanni (knife-fighter), is summoned to the secret underground tunnels of the Brotherhood of the Night. There, Cedrin is forced to join in a rebellion against the rulers of his native Athria. Caught between the threat of death and his suspicions that all is not what it seems, he must try to keep his friends alive and escape.

Ellen, daughter of the assassinated Athrian Sarlord, is named as heir before his death. She struggles to assert herself as the new ruler, little suspecting the civil war that will be unleashed on Athria within days.

Ellen’s father warned her never to reveal her hidden powers of Sorcery, but as Hukum’s minions close in, it seems she has little choice.

The Jakirian series comprises three books – The Calvanni, Scytheman and Sorcerer. They follow Cedrin and Ellen as they face deeper and more hidden threats.  Pursuing them is Raziin, a vicious renegade who seeks to claim the ultimate power of the Spear of Carris for himself. Eventually they must face a final challenge as the most ancient secrets that bind their three bloodlines are revealed.

The Calvanni has attracted readers of all kinds, including readers who, up until now, had never read books from the fantasy genre.

The Jakirian series has given me the room to explore my own unique world and to convey to readers the richness of my flavour of heroic Fantasy.

If you do pick up a copy, it would be great if you could post a review on Amazon or Goodreads:)

Enjoy!