November: Of Cons and Cruds

Howdy!

Late on the update this month but it has been rather a busy one, yet again. As it turns out, Halloween is rather a busy time for people wanting character illustrations! Which, I finally have a break from now that everything’s done.

At the end of last month, I got my first introduction to the writing world as a whole via my dad taking me to Mile High Con. As one might imagine, it’s a writing convention down in Denver, and let me just say that wandering around such a Con with someone who is basically considered the “Indie Author Guru” is rather an enlightening experience. I shook a lot of hands and learned a lot of things, not the least of which being that I’m actually a better writer than I gave myself credit for! (Or at least that I’m a more uptight editor than the folks on the Slush Pile Panel. That was an experience.) Now that I know how things work, I’m looking forward to maybe being on a panel next year, rather than being in the audience. I’ve also got another even lined up for January – CoSine Con! We’ll see how that goes.

Weirdly enough I didn’t actually catch a con crud from that, but I did manage to get a wee bit froggy after having gotten The Nerds together for the first time in a while. Scheduling is rather finicky when four adults in different jobs are involved. Then I had some very lovely allergies thanks to my delightful cat (I love her but she make-a me sneeze) so right at the moment I could probably sing baritone if I wanted to. It’s making recording voice work for a certain tiny Khajiit very difficult.

Speaking of which, Vagrant started today! This is the story of Zaytest, a khajiit rogue – original, I know – and her partner-in-crime Inigo! There’s actually another character attached to this series, who may or may not end up writing or showing up. I have plans for him, as well as for Zaytest. Obviously. Otherwise I wouldn’t be doing this! The video links are, as always, on the Table of Contents page if anyone is interested, along with all the links to Arden’s story, Intonation, which completed its second chapter about a week and a half ago. I’m really starting to get excited about all the ways I can weave these plots through each other, as well as perhaps introducing some go-between characters that can carry messages, travel with, and talk to the main characters from each quarter of the story. That’s a bit of a long-term plan, but it’s there!

Also: NaNoWriMo has been one huge nope this year, sadly. Oisinson is slogging along, but the key word there is slogging. It’s rather frustrating trying to get the story to do what it needs to do in order to get the characters where they need to be at the end. It’s almost tempting to write the prequels backwards, as in start with the fifth one and work my way back. Oh well. It’ll come, I just need to distract myself for a while so the plot doesn’t know I’m looking for it!

I think that about covers it. I’ll probably see ya’ll on YouTube if you want to come watch me tell stories with Skyrim – it’s not your usual yelling at things and getting salty let’s plays, it’s legit storytelling – but if not then I’ll see you next month and hopefully I have more to say about Oisinson!

Have a good one!
– Ej

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October: The Month of Many Things

Howdy!

We’ve officially come to the completion of Intonation, Chapter One! Arden Whelk, the imperial archaeologist, is finally headed out of Bruma and into Skyrim. Chapter Two, “Vile” will begin on Monday, October 16th, and continue until sometime in November. After that, We’ll start in on the rambling tale of Zaytest, the khajiit mercenary.

Big news, though! I’ll be at Mile High Con with my father – a rather prestigious space opera author – this year! So I’ll be working extra hard to get all my ducks in a cube before then. Which means you probably won’t hear much from me until November. As always, all my books are in the “Get the Books” section of my site, and the Skyrim roleplays are in the “Skyrim” tab.

See you when I see you, sorry for the short update!

-Ej

September: Oot and Aboot

Autumn starts officially in two days and I am hyped. Mostly I’ll be glad that the sun’s path across the sky is a little less directly overhead. High altitude summers are not nice.

It’s been a bit jarring since August, and I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that. I managed to get a bit of a reprieve – not really, it was exhausting, honestly – when I went up with my dear Moose’s family to the Scottish-Irish Highlands Festival. His family uses it as a kind of reunion time, and it’s always good to see everyone, but holy Zeus I do not do well when surrounded by people non-stop for three days straight. Overwhelm is real. Thankfully, I have ways of springing back to my feet, and Skyrim is one of them. Speaking of which…

This month I’ve mostly been cracking away on Arden Whelk’s story, Intonation, which I mentioned in the last update. The entire first half of chapter one, “Bruma,” is up on YouTube, and the links to each episode – there are currently seventeen planned for both chapters one and two, eight of which are available at the time of typing – can be found under Skyrim > Table of Contents on my blog. Arden is irreverent, quirky, a bit awkward, and hates the Thalmor with every molecule of his being because of what they stole from him. The story doesn’t really pick up much until episode three, but after that it chugs right along. You can watch episode one right here, if you’d like!

For those of you wondering what’s going on in the Five Realms, Oisinson is still in progress. I’m currently stuck again, thankfully not hanging off the side of a tower this time. Trying to get the boys to cooperate with me – and each other – is being a bit tricky. At least, the planning phase is. Once they get going it’s obvious they’re brothers.

With all that said, I do have plans coming up in October that don’t have much to do with producing stories: I’ll be at Mile-High Con this year! First time ever! I’m not speaking or anything, just showing up and casing the joint – as Ettien Jorel would say. I have plans to speak next year. A local author of some renown tells me I’m more than qualified to do so, I just have to get my courage all together in one place. Apparently not many writers actually write, so much as they make plans. Which is. Weird, to me. I guess we’ll see.

See you next month! Unless you’re actually subscribed on YouTube, in which case, see you on Friday!

August: New Media Storytelling

Hello, and good almost-autumn!

First order of business: Oisinson is going well, if slowly. It’s very hard to write young characters when I know what they’re going to turn into later in life, but I’m trying my best. Currently I’m stuck at trying to climb a mage tower. As you do.

Secondly: I’m sure at least one person is looking at this post title and going, “yo, what?” So let me explain. “New Media Storytelling” is a phrase I ran across on CouchwarriorTV’s patreon to describe the practice of using game engines to tell stories. Usually ones that make sense in-universe for that game. It’s like the evolved form of open-world writing, wherein a setting has stories from multiple authors written in it. Thus far – and Couch and I seem to agree on this – the far-and-away best game to use as a platform for storytelling is Skyrim. Between the sheer amount of free will and the modding community (and the cheese!) it’s more possible than ever to tell full, TV-series-length stories through recorded gameplay. It’s like Let’s Plays to the next level. The two people I’ve seen doing this that I enjoy the most are Couch – who is a master of in-game cinematography, in my opinion – and Rycon Roleplays – I’m thinking specifically of his Leonidas Aventus one, which I’ve not seen all the way through – both of whom are very heavily roleplay, in-character focused and not so much game mechanics or “giving the game grief” focused. To the point where I tend to forget I’m watching someone play Skyrim.

So guess what I’m doing? I figured I’d better warn ya’ll right now because I’m setting up a page on this site specifically for my Skyrim stories. This is the “Tales of E.J. Lowell,” after all. Not just the Five Realms universe, even though I tend to focus heavily on it.

Speaking of which, here’s the trailer for the first series, “Intonation.”

I did create the music playing in the background, as well as the art and logo for the series. It’ll be interesting to work within the limits of Skyrim – and Bruma – to tell Arden’s story. I have plans.

Soon I’ll be posting a channel update video on YouTube, and might be mirroring it here, so, keep your eyes peeled. I’m still trying to decide whether I want to be posting videos here or just using the page as a kind of “Table of Contents” for YouTube. We’ll see.

Till then, have a good one.

Patreon! Now Boarding!

Friends! I’m excited!

After much wrestling of my own brain, I’ve finally created a Patreon page! Complete with land and titles! Well… alright, not land, but there are certainly titles.

Mostly I’ve set this up so that I have a place to put work-in-progress pictures of art, as well as worldbuilding tips, dungeon master stuff, symbolic analysis of tarot cards – yes you read that right – one-off vignettes and short stories, and honestly so that I can start growing a source of income that is actually going toward something. First it’ll be a poll for the first real, patreon-driven project (Five Realms Oracle guidebook, T-Shirt designs, Bring Back Skyrim, or something completely different), maybe eventually it’ll be for paying the rent! I have high-ish hopes, cautiously optimistic, and I’m sure I’ll come up with something proper to post for Patrons soon. (Right at the moment it’s just a welcome post.

So! If you’ve ever wanted to be a Bard, a Paladin, or perhaps (and gods bless your gizzard if you do this) a Knight of the Raven Queen, now you can! In the meantime… I’ve got books to write.

See you ’round!
-Ej

July: Method Writing & Tablet Weaving

Hi! How are you all today?

I hate July. I hate summer in general, actually. Between my own brain chemistry being hard-wired to over-react to just about everything (heat, noise, light, barometric changes) and the fact that my “office” is in perhaps the hottest room in the house, I’ve been in a bit of a rut since about the time when people started setting off fireworks. In June. That said, I’ve started working on the next book already. Yeah. I know. I just published New World. I don’t think this one is going to be out until sometime next year though, at the rate I write lately. Who knows? I might surprise myself.

In my last update I mentioned that my list had a three-way tie between another Redgate novel, a mythology collection, or the first of Esper’s prequels. I’ve decided on writing the prequels, since there’s five of them to get through and I can’t wait to meet everyone he meets. The series is tentatively titled Raven-friend’s Saga, or, in Old Norse, Hrafnavinasaga. Yup. The first book, currently going by the working title of “Oisinson,” follows Esper, his brother, and their best friend in their life way back in the old days when Boreas was still Boreas. One of the main characters is a weaver, since it’s something he can do that doesn’t require a lot of moving around.

Now, I like a bit of realism in my stories. Part of the reason very few horses show up in the books is because I’ve never ridden a horse in my life, even though I live down the street from a couple of gorgeous chestnuts. I actually have a saber, a bo-staff, and a bow, all of which I use for standing up and choreographing fight scenes when they’re being tricky (and I’m trained in one of those), which is why my characters tend to use pole-arms when they aren’t casting spells. I’ve studied HEMA and Kenpo. Everything I know about sailing I learned from my dad’s sci-fi books and playing AC: Black Flag. My sister pointed out once that this makes me a “method writer.” Which is like a method actor, but my screen is a blank page, and my actors aren’t myself.

I’ve never had a character who weaves before. I’ve never woven before, at least not in any historical way. So I decided to try my hand at tablet weaving, just to get a feel for it. It is so much harder than it looks. Especially if you don’t have a loom to work on. My back is so sore, but now I know. This kid – he’s older than me, but his elven heritage means he’s still a kid – must have the most amazing posture. It makes me think of my days in high school band, playing French Horn. When your instrument is the same size as your torso, you learn to have good posture real fast, otherwise you can’t reach the mouthpiece.

So that’s where I’ve been this month. I’m only three-thousand words into Oisinson right at the moment but it’s going to be a while until the end. I’m super excited to see what these kids do.

See you next month, probably!
– EJ

The Redgate Chronicles: New World

Chapter 0

Dragons

After making an irrevocable mistake, Marcus finds himself, Evaline, and Kisuke in a world where myth is reality and nobody is quite what they seem – or what the trio remembers. Dragons now rule over what were once Provinces, and the necromancers that defeated them before have been all but eradicated. Torn by forces both within and without, Marcus, Evaline, and Kisuke find old faces in surprising places, fight to repair the damage done, and survive as best they can in a war between powerful Dragon Lords. Their skills and wills will be tested equally, as these outsiders find their places on the stage once again. This is a new world, and the Champions of Redgate certainly aren’t in Laine anymore.

Author’s Note: This book also has a dedication that’s more important to me than most:

In loving memory of Jacob Thiess
1994-2016
Thank you for everything you were able to share, big brother.
Thank you for Tiberius, Evaline, Henrietta, Setok, and so many ideas.
Thank you for the smiles, the hugs, and all the raucous donkey-laughs.
Thank you for the endless hours of talking story and drinking chai in thunderstorms.
And yes, the Boop Ship made the cut.

NEW WORLD

redgatenw-cover

Now available for Amazon Kindle.