Giblets and Mayhem
We’ll start out this update with a question. Without context, how does the term “decapitated baby” make you feel?
If you answered:
A: I recommend leaving my website now since we’re not on the same wavelength.
B: Meh…okay, I get it, but you still might not be my type of reader.
C: Welcome back, fans!
D: Either you have a great morbid sense of humor picking this or you’re legitimately disturbed. Either way, you’ll probably like my books, so welcome. *Bows*
In all seriousness, this term is in Stemming the Tide‘s latest action scene involving a brood of afancs, and I’m digging it. Writing as Calder is so much fun. I love writing his rages fueled by pain, his maulings…writing from the first-person perspective of a berserker lizardman is not only extraordinarily unique (when researching other lizardman books to market Origins of the Tainted Bloodline toward, I found 99% erotica and 1% manga, so I’ve apparently delved into a rare subject matter), it also allows me to explore beautifully intense gore.
You guys know I research everything about my books–heavily. Want to know some fun gore-related questions I’ve searched for the Shapeshifting Seas Trilogy thus far? Here you are, you sick bastards:
What do human brains taste like? Consistency of human brains. Does mutilated body fat float in water?
That last question was quite stupid of me to research because I know the answer. Most of my knowledge of anatomy comes from my time studying dietetics (the study of nutrition) in college over a decade ago. Fat is made of oil, and oil floats. But for some reason I double-checked since I was talking about chunks of fat that have separated from the body while underwater. You guys might not care about the details, but I do. My gore has to be accurate, damn it!
Don’t forget to check out my latest author interview just released about a week ago with Worldhoppers’ Guild. I answer some fun questions about my obsession with necromancy, why I focus on disturbed characters, and more. As always, all my author interviews are available at the top of the Author Q & A page.
Have you ever listened to a song and it reminded you of something?
That has happened to me multiple times since writing The Six Elements. Songs remind me of my characters often, even if the lyrics don’t always match up. I mentioned in my newsletter upon Rise of a Necromancer‘s release that the song “Blood” from the metal band In This Moment kept rushing through my head while writing the battle scenes. To this day, I cannot listen to that song without picturing Cerin tearing people limb to limb. I’ve listed some songs and what they make me think of below, including specific examples I have from the King Arthur: Legend of the Sword soundtrack (also credited as an inspiration on the Six Elements Details page) that inspired many pivotal moments in the series.
“Blood” by In This Moment: Goes so perfectly with Cerin losing his mind. I mentally pair up each chorus to a battle scene: 1) mercenaries in the forest and/or vampire fight, 2) first fight with Kenady Urien, 3) climax battle.
“Renegade” by Styx: Again, this makes me think of Cerin. Every time. And every time I get so disappointed with myself and say, “Really?”
“Bulletproof Heart” by My Chemical Romance: Makes me think of Cerin and Kai running away from Sera together as criminals. Bonus: Kai takes the “let’s blow a hole in this town” line seriously. 😛
“Firestorm” by Far Too Loud (Karetus remix): I can’t hear this dubstep tune without imagining Kai going nuts with her power. Cities be burning!
“The Wolf and The Hanged Men” by Daniel Pemberton (King Arthur soundtrack): This is Calder’s song, through and through. I created his character when listening to it. The underwater sound of the beginning is the reason I chose him to be a lizard-kin, because I pictured a lizard approaching Kai from the depths. The first half of the song covers the shipwreck and Calder’s reveal, while I imagine their trek through the wildlands for the rest.
“The Politics & The Life” by Daniel Pemberton & Gareth Williams (King Arthur soundtrack): The epic build-up during Kai’s one-woman battle to destroy Narangar’s harbor, the dwarven cannonfire, and the resulting devastating tsunami are all covered here (from Air, Book 4). I still get chills listening to it.
“Tower & Power” by Daniel Pemberton (King Arthur soundtrack): I have a mental movie that plays every time I hear this showcasing the entire Hazarmaveth takeover from Water (Book 3). It covers sneaking in the city while invisible, Azazel setting off the explosions, Kai’s tornado, the beastmen’s arrival, a major character death, and Kai’s resulting rage (ending with the toppling tower). This tune is perfection.
“The Born King” by Daniel Pemberton (King Arthur soundtrack): This is the music that pairs perfectly with the first major character death scene in Air (Book 4) during the Battle of Highland Pass (leading up to the massacre).
“The Legend of Excalibur” by Daniel Pemberton (King Arthur soundtrack): This showcases (Spoiler)’s fall and subsequent death in slow motion before Kai’s resulting rage in Death (Book 6).
Bats are dorks 2: Electric Boogaloo
I tried to make this update interesting even though I didn’t have any cool pictures to show you guys. Want a picture anyway? Okay, I’ll give you one I have saved on my desktop. Remember the Bats are dorks post from a few weeks ago? My love for bats has only deepened since. I had to look up a video to see how bats walk to describe Jaecar’s swagger, and my heart about burst from the little guy’s smile and awkward gait. I used that video and a picture to correctly describe Jaecar’s tail, but the photo’s so cute I can’t get rid of it. So here you are, a bat butt:
I confided in you with my last update that I’m suffering a deep depression. This year has been hell for me. I lost someone dear to me after a months-long battle (I dedicated Origins of the Tainted Bloodline to him, in case you didn’t notice). I’ve lost two others in a mental sense to Alzheimer’s. Though some of my health problems have gotten better (due to extensive physical therapy and a surgery this year), there’s another one that has plagued me for over a year now and regularly affects my quality of life. This all compiled with the career struggles I’ve had this year to kick me while I was down. Being an author is extremely hard work. Not only do I put in double the work hours per week than most, but everything is so volatile. Ad spend is through the roof. 99.7% of readers refuse to review, yet just one review from a non-fan could tank a book, series, and thus my career. Tried and true marketing methods stop working. Well-planned but costly promotions fail to deliver results. Most of the time I love what I’m doing, but sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it. Why work this hard when the results don’t match the effort? Suffering from depression makes these negative thoughts ever more prevalent and convincing.
I don’t admit to all this to sound negative or scare you, but to be open, honest, and vulnerable to those of you who love my work. I’m suffering from a lot right now, but I’m fighting so hard to get through it. I’m normally such an optimistic person that I keep thinking I’ll naturally bounce back one of these days. I haven’t yet, but I have forced myself to be more productive. I set a daily writing goal of 1600 words and have surpassed it two out of three days. As you can tell from my enthusiasm above, I love writing so much that I’m hoping it’ll keep my mind distracted until I can heal.
To those of you who reached out to me expressing concern, I appreciate it immensely. I didn’t expect the support, either. I’ve said this before, but I’m always surprised when people reach out since I figure you’re just here for the books. Considering how hard I’ve been working to try to overcome this, I haven’t had the time to respond to your emails yet, but I have read them and they help. Thank you.
Maybe I should be thankful. Fighting mental and physical pain all at once has kept me connected with Calder’s psyche well enough to fully understand him. I could lie and say I’m going through this depression for research. 🙂