Showing posts from 2013

The House of Andersvärd

Here are a couple of "trumps" I created for Alexander and Hanna of the House of Andersvärd. If you've ever read the Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny, then you know where I got my inspiration.

I don't plan on incorporating trumps into the world ofÖvrigmark, at least not in the same fashion as Zelazny did, but I do like the idea of the royal family being depicted on tarot-like cards. I'm thinking the cards might be a sort of magical device whereby the holder can place a card on one of the maps like the children possess, and then ascertain their whereabouts. Kind of like a magical GPS of sorts.

This is the sort of thing I do when I should be writing :)

Okay, okay. I'll get back to writing now. Maybe just one more trump before I start...just kidding :)

A great story for a great cause

The Carpenter's Wife by Mysti Parker      Her screams jarred the peaceful night. A donkey brayed. From the rafters overhead, startled doves flew away in a burst of annoyed coos and wing beats. The young woman was no stranger to childbirth, having assisted her own mother on many such occasions in their village. But here they had no one to call upon for help. The thought occurred to her that she might die, that the stunning proclamation had been a dream, that their little family was no more important than any other.      Her husband knelt in front of her, holding her knees apart. He didn’t flinch at her cries, nor did he look her in the eye. Only a brief crease in his brow indicated any concern on his part.      She treasured that one gesture, listening to his monotone instructions, straining to hear the slightest hint of his love. “Push. Good. Now breathe.”      The contraction eased. She allowed her head to fall back on the rolled-up horse blanket he’d provided when the pains began. T…

Aspiring authors

I think most writers write because they have stories inside them that they just have to get out. I know that’s true for me, but most of us also, whether we admit it or not, desire to have our work read and appreciated by others. Personally I don’t have any grand illusions of fame and fortune as a result of my writing. In fact, I don’t suspect that I will make much of a blip in the expansive fiction landscape, but I do think I’ve managed to delight and enthrall at least a few readers, and for an author, that knowledge is enough. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking fame and fortune, it’s just that I’m still, at least remotely, in touch with reality and have no plans to quit my day job.

I digress, however. My point is that there are undoubtedly quite a few talented authors all over the world who have either written or are currently writing a piece of work which I suspect many of us would enjoy. The problem is that we will most certainly never even know of their existence. That’s precise…

Book cover gallery

Here are a few of the book covers I've created that I'm particularly fond of. I made all of these using Pixelmator on my MacBook. For the most part they all utilize stock photography that I purchased from BigStockPhoto, which I then manipulate with Pixelmator's built in graphics tools.

Writing update, The Sixth Seal and more

Book two of the Protectors trilogy is coming along nicely. I'm extremely excited about the story, and I hope fans of The Sixth Seal will enjoy it as much as I do.

The book starts right where the first left off with Ana and Frederick on a strange new world. But Ana's plan to discover her roots and find help for Earth are quickly dashed when her father realizes that they've just stepped into a trap and played right into the hands of an enemy larger and more sinister than they could have ever imagined.

Like The Sixth Seal, Ana Unbound will be told from multiple viewpoints in different times, and in this case, on different planets. For those of you who read the serial in its entirety, you may recognize the young ship mate from the Sea Dragon, Kang. So if you were wondering what actually happened to Kang when he jumped on his master's horse and charged overboard with the book of power, this book will answer that question.

This book will also delve into the history of the bo…

My NaNoWrimo donation gifts

I usually check the box to decline my NaNoWriMo gifts when I dontate, as I did this year, but for some reason they still sent me these nifty retro book marks and cards. I'm kind of glad they did; they look right at home sitting on top of my trusty old white MacBook.

If you take part in and enjoy NaNo, I highly encourage you to donate. They do so many great things to promote literacy and writing, especially for young writers, and every little bit helps. Plus you get these awesome 80's retro cut-outs...and a bright and shiny halo on your avatar :)

My day job

For those of you who wonder what I do when I'm not writing, here's a map I created for our company's environmental department. I can't show our pipeline systems to you since they're proprietary, but it still gives you a pretty good idea of what I do all day.

This is a map of Oklahoma that shows interstate and navigable waterways, as well as water compacts that our state has with surrounding states.

Anyway, just thought I'd share :) Back to work!


Ana Unbound, the second book of The Protectors trilogy is pouring out of me. I almost didn't do NaNoWriMo this year, but I'm glad I changed my mind. The words are coming out pretty easy so far. Which I don't believe has anything to do with writing talent; rather it's a result of how excited I am about the story.

Here's the synopsis and excerpt I posted on my Author page at NaNoWriMo...


Ana Eloise Bertrand, after centuries of anguish and torment, has finally thwarted the Horsemen and bound the destructive powers of the ancient book of power. At least that's what she thought.

Now she's unbound from the great book and alone with her father on a strange new world. Events bigger than she could have ever imagined have been set into play by an unknown power, and she may just have inadvertently delivered herself and the key to the universe right into their hands.

But if they think for a minute that little Ana Eloise is going to play by their rules, they…

The Protectors Book III Cover

This is my mock-up of the cover for the third book in the series. Now all three books follow a style guide and theme.

Now that I have all of the covers designed, I'd better get back to writing :)

New cover for The Sixth Seal

Here's the new cover for The Sixth Seal...

Cover for my NaNoWriMo project

Here's the first draft of the cover for the sequel to The Sixth Seal. The material I wrote last year for NaNoWriMo will actually be used for the third book in the series.

I'm still editing the first book for release early next year, but in the meantime I'll be working on Ana Unbound for this year's NaNoWriMo.

Let me know what you think of the cover.

A color map of Övrigmark

Here's a more colorful version of the map of Övrigmark that I created using Campaign Cartographer 3. The software really allowed me to capture more of the detail I pictured in my mind. I'll eventually make maps of the other worlds that are linked to the land of Övrigmark, but for now you'll just have to be content with this one.

I might also create a tutorial that shows how I created the map; although there are already some pretty good videos on YouTube that show you the ins and outs of the program. The cartographer in me is totally geeking out :)

The worse things get

A little Neko Case is good for the soul. Good for mine anyway. Go ahead, give it a listen. What have you got to lose?

You're welcome...(click this, silly).


"Every day is yours to win." - R.E.M.

A nice sentiment and a lovely song. Reminds me of my carefree youth. Don't be in a rush to grow up, kids.

Elmore Leonard

My favorite Elmore Leonard quote...

“Write the book the way it should be written, then give it to somebody to put in the commas and shit.” - Elmore Leaonard

Still free to read

For those of you who haven't heard, The Sixth Seal is completed over at JukePop Serials. That means you can read the entire thing from beginning to end without having to wait for the next installment. I know there are quite a few people who prefer to wait until a serial is complete before they invest their time in it. I can hardly blame them. I mean, who wants to get all excited about something only to find out the author lost interest and quit writing?

So now's the perfect time to dive in if you haven't already. There are thirty-two chapters of action-packed excitement awaiting you. And if you really like the story, you might be happy to know that I'm working on editing the work into an ebook that will be the first in a trilogy. I hope to have The Sixth Seal ready to publish by the end of the year, and I'm planning to use this next session of NaNoWriMo to rough out the first draft of book two. I'll be sure to post some teasers here once the writing gets underw…

Artwork for Paper Dragons

Here's a sample cover I created for my fantasy noir story...

Some thoughts and plans

For anyone who might be interested, I thought I might post a little about my plans for the future, at least as far as my writing is concerned.

As you may know, I posted the final chapter of The Sixth Seal at JukePop Serials a few weeks ago. It will remain on the site under the completed serials category for as long as JukePop would like to keep it there. As far as I know, you will still be able to read it for free in its entirety for the forseeable future. My experience with JukePop has been wonderful and continues to be. In fact, I credit them with giving me the motivation to complete the Sixth Seal. The positive feedback I received, as well as the modest monetary rewards, went a long way in keeping me moving forward with the story. I also find it easier to stay invigorated when writing in regular installments.

Having said all that, my plan for the Sixth Seal has always been to publish it as a complete novel. Now that the serial is complete, I hope to edit and revise the work as a co…

Some research that's right up my alley

I'm doing some research for a short story I'm writing, tentatively titled Paper Dragons. The story is set in 1930s Los Angeles, so I wanted to be as faithful to the locations and street names as possible for the period. Since I love maps, one of my first stops is always the Library of Congress. They have some fantastic historical map collections, including some fascinating panoramic maps. The best part is they're all free to download.

I found this little gem there, and I think it's the perfect map to give me a good reference for the area.

Of course I'll need more details on the actual locations that the story takes place in, so I purchased this book on Amazon, Los Angeles in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to the City of Los Angeles. From what I've seen so far, it's packed full of the kind of rich detail that I'm after. Now if I can just make myself write and quit researching so much, I might actually get this story on paper.

If you haven't checked out the…

Big drawing and virtual book tour

Hey folks, just wanted to let you know about the big drawing my friend Mysti Parker is having to go along with her virtual book tour for her latest book, Hearts in Exile. For anyone who buys a copy and forwards their receipt to her at, she'll enter you into a drawing to win a really nice pack of prizes valued at ~$50. 

To see photos of the prizes, you can click on this Facebook Event Page:
You can buy Hearts in Exile at these links: 
Melange Books (Print, PDF, & HTML):

Amazon (Kindle):

B&N (Nook):

Smashwords (all e-formats):

All Romance E-Books (PDF & HTML):…

A writing prompt

Here's a little piece that I wrote after posting a writing prompt in my classroom at F2K. I'm an intern in the Colin R. Onstad room for our wonderful mentor, maruxa, and yes, maruxa is not supposed to be capitalized :)

The first week of F2K is orientation and introduction, so mentors and interns often post optional writing prompts to keep their students from going bonkers until the first lesson is posted. The prompt is one I found online, but because this is F2K and many people submit and critique the work, we have to keep each entry to a maximum of 500 words. Personally I think that's great practice for a writer. It forces you to think carefully about your words and sentences. No fluff :)

Here's the prompt and my response to it:

Write about nature and include the following words: hard drive, stapler, phone, car, billboard.

Reclaimedby Josh Thornbrugh

Their trek through the forest had taken them the better part of the day.  Ben and Philip knew they were running out of tim…

A nifty little app

I happened across this nifty little app called Wordify while I was browsing the Mac App Store today. Yes, that's what nerds do for fun, so quit rolling your eyes. Anyway, for a three dollar app, it's loads of fun and pretty easy to use. It doesn't always output what you'd expect, but sometimes that's part of its appeal.

Here are a few samples I created...

The next couple of samples use Wordify's built in templates...

All in all, I really like Wordify, especially considering its price and how easy it is to use. I think you can tell from my samples that it does a better job with simple graphics. However, if you picked a photo with some very good contrast, Wordify could probably deliver some interesting results.

Unfortunately, Wordify is only available for the Mac, but I'm sure there's a PC alternative available somewhere on the great wide interwebs :) I've seen this effect done by less graphically challenged people than myself in Photoshop, but for th…

What lies beyond the gates of Övrigmark?

Step through the gate and follow Alexander on a magical journey...

Just for the record

My mom is awesome :)

Love you, Mom!


Who are we to judge?
Who are we to say?
When we get it wrong
Day after day after day

Is this the last straw?
Will this divide us?
I'll send out this quiet refrain
So that we might stay united

We can barely understand ourselves
Yet we think we have everything sorted
Try looking through the eyes of a child
And surely we'll all be rewarded

Who are we to judge?
Who are we to say?
I'll send out this quiet refrain
Day after day after day

A good cause

Red, White & Blue Pages The Red, White & Blue AwardsDo you know a military spouse who wants to start a business? Do you know a veteran who already owns a business, but wants to grow? What about a military spouse or veteran run business or organization that makes giving back part of how they do business? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you have to check out the Red, White, and Blue Awards. TheRed, White, & Blue Awardswere created to recognize and honor the outstanding achievements of businesses run by veterans and military spouses.  As a part of our continuing mission, we want to help promote these businesses; not only within the military community, but also in the local communities these businesses help to support. The Awards In this, our inaugural year, our goal is to award six business grants – 3 to Military Spouses and 3 to Veterans – ranging from $500 to $1000. We will be awarding two of each of the six grants in three categories: Shiny Penny Award - $50…

Paper Dragons

Here's a teaser for my fantasy-noir story, Paper Dragons. My family will recognize the name of the main character. It's going to be a tribute to my grandfather, Charles Anderson. I thought it was appropriate since this story will eventually appear in an anthology to benefit military families. Plus, it's set in 1930s Los Angeles and features some of the stuff my old Grandpa Chuck loved.

The name’s Boyd, Charles Boyd, friends call me Chuck. Not many people call me Chuck, but who wants to hear a sob story? No one, that’s who, and besides I have enough people to worry about just looking after myself. In my line of work, friends are a distraction. Tracking dragons is a tricky business, one where distractions can get you killed.

Don't miss this Cover Reveal...

New Cover REVEAL: A Ranger’s Tale by Mysti Parker The world of Tallenmere was born in January, 2011 with this first exciting story about Caliphany, an elven noblewoman who longs to leave her gilded cage, and Galadin, the half-elf former pirate who trains her to do just that. To better reflect its place in the burgeoning series and Caliphany's choice between two good men, cover artist Caroline Andrus and I tore down the original cover to make room for a whole new look! 

Join us for this exciting reveal party on Facebook, Friday, March 29 from 5-10 PM EST. Bring a friend, too. There do be prizes, mateys!  *$25 gift card *Signed Print copy of A Ranger’s Tale *And MORE! CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE PARTY: Blurb: In the world of Tallenmere, an elven noblewoman longed to leave her gilded cage. A half-breed former pirate wanted nothing more than to escape his guilty past. Easier said than done...

High elf Caliphany Aranea leads an enviable …