April/May: Anvils, Mostly


It was more or less two months that slid by my face without me realizing. I managed to burn myself out once again, though I’m not entirely sure how this time. I’d like to know, so that I can avoid doing things like this in the future, but I guess that’s not happening. In light of said burnout, I’m putting the “on vacation” sign up on my illustration commissions right now. I need to do some work for me, and while I will be finishing the two commissions that I have right now, I’m not sure when the service will come back. It might be a few months. It might not come back until I’m done with my degree. I dunno. Mainly I need to work on my own work/life balance, which sounds really weird coming from someone who works from home, but it’s true. A wise dude once told me, “When you work for yourself, the boss is a jerk.”

In other news, I have a better place for my “About the Worlds” stuff! Just to keep it all organized and have a place that people can look if they start to read Revenant or one of the others and go, “WTF is a Gaoan?” Or if somehow I find that one reader who’s like me and wants to know all the things about a universe that they become invested in. I mean, I’m that way about my own books, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing in this world, but I want someone else to be, too.

But! I now have a link up in the “The Five Realms” section of the menu that leads to Omnia on WorldAnvil. I’ve been slowly chipping away at it, adding information as I feel the urge to write about it, writing what I do know about the world. I may end up doing the same with my D&D/Pathfinder campaign setting, in case I want to run a game over Skype or have players who want to join in and don’t have a clue what the world is about. Formerly, this world was called Sundamysia, but I think I like Nombrios better. I’ll come up with something, probably.

In other news, Skyrim news, We’ve almost completed phase one of what I’m starting to call either The Boundless Saga or The Dawnbreakers’ Guild. I’m thinking it may end up being the latter because “Dawnbreaker” is a pretty obvious tie-in to Skyrim, which this series otherwise doesn’t have. We’re coming up on the end of Chapter 2 of Honorless, and afterward we’ll be heading into Chapter 3 of Intonation, which I honestly didn’t think I would be able to pull off, but here we are! For those who don’t know what I’m doing with Skyrim right at the moment, I’m basically telling a “getting the party together” story within the world of Tamriel. Sometimes this means playing quests, sometimes it means doing some narrative finagling, but all of the episodes (except the first episode of Intonation) are in-character roleplay, basically as though the character we follow for each chapter is the first-person narrator. So far we’ve had two crossover events, but things will start to spiral together as it goes. Because my biggest audience now lives on YouTube (barely surpassed by the one on DeviantArt) that’s what I’ve been putting most of my effort into, lately.

That’s all for this month/two months! Be back in June, probably. Until then, have a good one!



March: Too Many Vikings

…is actually the file name I’ve been using for test writes of All’s Well in Asgard!


I’m actually more or less on time for this one! Probably would have posted last week but I had some personal drama and accidentally bought a book about plot and story structure in which I have immersed myself for about five days straight. And therein lies a tale. Both of those things, though I’m not going to get into the drama.

So! Speaking of vikings, I have just finished putting a basic plot together for All’s Well that actually makes sense and works as a story rather than throwing characters into a world and hoping it works. I am, unfortunately, not a pantser. I can’t write the way my dad does, I need structure! Even if it’s lopsided, haphazard, and a little bit held together by spit, duct tape, and Loki. Seriously. It’s a long story, a weird story, and kind of an awesome one, if I can pull it off as well as I hope I can. It’s a bit like sketching a drawing in that I don’t know if it’ll work until I start shading it, which for me in writing is actually the editing process. Could be a while before we see it, but I definitely want it to be my ninth book out. For reasons. Symbolic reasons.

Which means that Oisinson and the rest of Esper’s prequel series (and Gatestrider, honhonhon) is going to be put on the back burner again for a little bit. Even though Oisinson is technically done. I say technically because I haven’t proofread it or checked it for plot holes or continuity, yet. I kinda got distracted by other things. Speaking of vikings, the town Esper grew up in is very reminiscent of a town in viking-age Scandinavia, except it’s got a mage tower off to the side like a lighthouse. Thus, too many vikings.

Speaking of Esper, the whole Tales of Esper Ravenwood trilogy is available in paperback form now, as well as Kindle! And I have the sneaking suspicion that I’m going to end up publishing All’s Well before I even get Runesong‘s cover done, much less the actual manuscript formatted. To say nothing of The Redgate Chronicles. I might actually wait on those two. There is a third (and possibly fourth) book that I want to write for that, with a slightly different set of characters, but… ehh. I don’t think I’ve sold a single copy of either since they came out. Which, I mean, I kind of expected? You can’t win them all and breaking worlds is a risky proposition, so. For the moment, I’m going to focus on our world, and Tamriel.

Oh boy, speaking of gambles in storytelling, Unblooded took some intense turns. Chapter 02 is almost done which means I need to get my butt in gear and the reboot of Honorless, which I initially envisioned about a year ago, will be coming up in roughly the second week of April. I’m excited to bring Kinua back, given that she was the one who inspired this whole venture.

That’s it for this month’s update. See you in April, hopefully!


Jan/Feb: School and Busy Things


January kinda blasted by and I can’t remember a lot of what happened, except that CoSine was a blast, and also very chill! I submitted a quick bit of writing to the “slush pile” (which is a panel of Professional Editors trained to critique written works) and they managed to get all the way through with only one hand raised. It was for the word “mumble,” which I used way too often. Much like real life. 😀 So that was gratifying!

School started in January, I was worried, and now I’m not. I’m only taking one class, an English class, and you can imagine how that’s going for someone who has written eight books.

Speaking of which! I’m working on formatting and releasing paperback versions again for at least the Tales of Esper Ravenwood trilogy – which is why I have a new site banner now, that’s the cover for Revenant – and perhaps the others as well. I’d love to see the Redgate Chronicles in paper, but that’s a ways off. I’ve currently got the proof of Scourgemarked sitting on my bed, and am slowly chunking away at it between keeping up with school, Skyrim, and commissions. My goal is to get all the paperbacks out before the end of 2018, but we’ll see how that goes. Revenant is currently available, and if you want to find the link through this blog, it’s under “The Five Realms” and “Novels.”

I’m also working on a bit of a website overhaul, wherein I’m adding the “About the Realms” post as pages under “The Five Realms,” with updated information and satellite-style maps, now that I know a bit more about how climates work with air and ocean currents and whatnot. Omnia’s page is currently complete, for the most part, and Oberun’s is next, after I get a commission or two done. So if you want to know a thing or three about the setting but don’t necessarily want to dive into the novels, that’s the place to go!

On the topic of new books, I’ve kinda been working on two side-by-side, but neither of them are working? One of them was a continuation of the little snippet that got through the slush pile, and is I guess the newest iteration of All’s Well in Asgard, aka the Cursed Story That Will Not Work With Me. The other is Oisinson, which is the working title and is subject to change, which also hasn’t been working with me. I think I know why, though, and it’s because it’s an Esper Ravenwood (sorta) book that’s written in third-person rather than first. And I think Esper needs to be a first-person character for the later books in the Raven-Friend’s saga to work. Which means I have to rewrite it. Oh well. Let it never be said that authors don’t screw up sometimes.

So that’s where I’m at! There are a lot of moving parts going on right now, but my next paper isn’t due until the middle of March, so hopefully I can get my crap together-ish before then. See you soon!

Character Profile: Ingrath

Given Name: Ingrath StormsongSP - Ingrath

Alias: Caiman

Premise: Hunter; of both game and heads

Combat Style: Blood/ice magic, one-handed axe, and archery

Race: Bosmer (Wood Elf) / Vampire

Homeland: Woodhearth, Greenshade, Valenwood

Birth Date & Sign: 23rd of Evening Star, 4E 87 – Sign of the Theif

Family: None on record

Friends & Allies: The Dark Brotherhood (formerly), the Brazen Clan (formerly), Zaytest

Enemies & Rivals: Many of Skyrim’s vampire population, the Thalmor, the Silver Hand, Thorina’s Cutters

A Brief Overview

Valenwood is a land that grows three things in abundance: game, hunters, and plentiful opportunities for disappearing. A young Ingrath took full advantage of all three of those things, having learned to track and take down game from black bear to crocodile in the forests, swamps, and rivers of the Greenshade. Knowing the land so well, it was easy for him to vanish when an accident left his training officer dead, and his supervisors flailing to figure out what happened.

Ingrath showed up in Thalmor records once again after that, in the midst of the Great War. He reported for duty as a supposed member of the Scout Corps in Leywiin, and disappeared once again on a mission into the Nibenay basin. This time, the only evidence of his departure from service was, “a mangled Argonian, an unfortunate dearth of blood, and a severed eye, obviously having belonged to a mer at one point recent to their search.”

After that, he became a ghost. Nothing but a rumor, outside of Cyrodiil’s Dark Brotherhood and those that hired them. He rose the ranks to Executioner before the Bruma sanctuary was sacked in 4E 186. After that he vanished once again, finding his way into a new family in the form of a bandit clan. There, all rumor of a one-eyed hunter ceased, until the death of a Thalmor agent in Falkreath under suspicious circumstances made its way to the keen ears of Elenwen.

Ingrath’s last known location is a mystery, though some rumors mention a hooded horseman, riding by night out of the Rift, with a half-dead khajiit in his arms.

Character Profile: Arden Whelk

Given Name: Ardenius Perseus Whelk

SP - Arden

Alias: N/A

Premise: Scholar / Explorer

Combat Style: Runes and Sword (and occasionally a torch)

Race: Imperial

Homeland: Chorrol, Colovian Highlands, Cyrodiil

Birth Sign & Date: 22nd of Hearth Fire, 4E 167 – Sign of the Lady

Family: Saladin Desolaron Whelk (father; MIA, presumed dead) & Danae Tryphosa Argent (mother; deceased)

Friends & Allies: The College of Whispers (formerly), the College of Winterhold

Enemies & Rivals: His ex.

A Brief Overview

Arden was born into a Tamriel in the throes of war, and for the first decade or so of his life, wasn’t allowed out much. His mother, Danae, feared his safety with Aldmeri forces so close to the Imperial City, especially when his father, Saladin, was off fighting them back in Hammerfell. When Arden was eight, his father returned for a brief time, only for his legion to march on the Aldmeri-controlled Imperial City at the Battle of the Red ring. Saladin Whelk never returned. A story many imperials of his age share.

Still, for all the tragedy in his young life, Arden turned out to be possessing of a remarkably cheerful disposition, a passion for learning, and a curious streak that would put even the most wily khajiit to shame. As he grew older he turned more to books than friends for company, and eventually Danae convinced him to join the College of Whispers and become a mage. Only a year into his studies, she lost her life to illness, and Arden’s proclivity for study turned into an obsession. His shy-but-friendly personality turned inward so far that he became an outcast, cold and uncaring. It was only after meeting and helping an altmer and fellow outcast – by virtue of race rather than disposition – that he began to open up a bit more. The two of them became research partners, and went on several expeditions and digs together over the years, while the nature of their relationship slowly evolved. Sadly, their time together was cut short, when the high-elf’s travel permit expired, and he had to return to the Aldmeri Dominion. Arden finished his thesis project alone, and left the College shortly thereafter.

Now, Arden is back to his quirky – albeit much more subdued – ways, and has followed his studies and experiments north into Skyrim, where the expedition at Saarthal promises insight never before put to paper by an imperial scholar, and Dwemer ruins hold secrets about tonal architecture and the structure of the universe itself… assuming he can decipher them.

December: Silently Screaming


It’s beginning to look a lot like Skyrim outside and I’ve still got a waiting list of art to take care of, but here I am! Dragging myself through into the new year with a smile on my face, hopefully.

Most of December has been trying to get yuletide commissions done before the Day – which I did, though I’ve still got several more with no deadlines – trying to keep up with Vagrant, and trying to get all my red tape sorted out for college next semester. I’m only taking one class because the last time I tried to get a degree of any sort things went pear-shaped pretty fast, and I’m not about to commit myself to this at the expense of the things that are currently earning money and providing a service to others – namely, art and entertainment – if it turns out things are just going to go bum-over-teacups again. I’ve also got CoSine Con coming up in January, right as the semester will be starting, thankfully, so there’s also that to keep track of.

The prequels are still slogging along, though my focus has been pretty heavily centered on art and sanity the past month or so. I’m in the swampy middle bit of the book where things need to happen in order to get the characters where they need to be psychologically for the rest of it to make any sense. Esper is turning into a very different young man than I thought he was! Which is good, since he’s got a lot of time and a lot of tragedy to go through in the next four books after Oisinson. (I really do have to rename that but whatever.) Speaking of which, next year is the 5th anniversary of Revenant, and to celebrate, I’m thinking of reworking the covers and actually re-learning Lyx so that I can have shiny new physical copies of at least the Tales of Esper Ravenwood before Mile-High Con in October. That’s my goal, anyway. I might do the same with the Redgate Chronicles, but we’ll see.

On a less-stressful note, Ingrath was a complete surprise! I honestly didn’t expect to be able to do his voice, let alone have a video of him up, ever, but it happened. With how important he is going to be in the story down the road, I probably should have expected it, but he’s now got two more – at least – in the works. Dunno when they’ll go up, I do rather have to take care of Vagrant first, but it is what it is. It’s actually quite nice having one character I can just pop in with whenever I need a break from someone else. I’ll have to go update the Table of Contents to include him now.

And with that, I have to go continue kicking butt and taking names because my commissions list is long and full of backgrounds. All the best to ya’ll!

– Ej

November: Of Cons and Cruds


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