Image of the Day is in in ruins

ruined city

Some more Terragen. More photography to follow once the calendar and elements cease to conspire against me. I have some awesome locations upcoming, but this week was a bit of a disaster (Whaddyamean you forgot to dial the ISO back from 4000 to 100? Whaddyamean you got LOST in Vaucluse? GRRR). Anyway. Maybe next week (Tuesday, not Monday), maybe the week after.

Meanwhile, I’m doing the pre-final edit of Soldier’s Duty. It’s coming together. A bit of stuff still to trim and shift and add (especially in the last quarter or so).

I also got my edits for Ambassador, so I’ve been working on that.

Some newsy bits:

I started a Facebook group for my ebook covers covers. Click and like if you’re interested.

I realised that The Shattered World Within was out of contract, so I put it on Amazon. Kobo is playing silly buggers with me and holding it in publishing. I’ve also put it on Smashwords.

And then, I discovered an old MG manuscript that I should do something with because it’s kinda hilarious and not far from being finished. How can I not do anything with a story that starts like this?

Once upon a time, there was a boy named Florian.

Uh-oh, you say, this is a fairytale, because they always start with “Once upon a time”.

And you’d be right, because it a tale about fairies. About evil fairies, and greedy fairies. You see, fairies are not all pretty with glittery wings and frilly dresses, but Florian didn’t know that yet.

So…

Once upon a time there was a boy named Florian.

What sort of name is that, you’d ask? Which parent who loves their children would call a boy Florian? Jack, James, Morgan even, but Florian? That’s ridiculous, you’d say.

And all of the children in Florian’s class would agree with you.

Florian-the-sissy, they called him, or Florian fat-boy, and this is how, when this story starts, he jumped off the school bus alone, while his classmates jeered at him from the back seat.

The bus rumbled off, leaving Florian alone by the side of the road, with the nasty things they’d said still ringing in his ears. He wasn’t going to cry, he was not that sort of boy, but he didn’t know how to face his father about yet another jumper lost.

He crossed the road and slouched up the long driveway that led to his father’s caravan. Green fields stretched out on both sides of the muddy path, Mr MacDonald’s cows in one paddock, his father’s horse in the other.

Florian jammed his hands in his pockets, imagining what his father would say. He’d look at him with those stern eyes, and then he’d say, “Are you sure they threw your jumper in the creek?”

Florian would nod, and then, and this was the worst part, his father would push himself up, limp to the other side of the caravan, while his walking stick went tap-tap-tap on the floor, and he would draw the money tin from under the bed. He would give Florian a handful of coins, and say, “Now make sure you don’t lose it again.”

And then Florian would have to go into the uniform shop and dig in the old cardboard box that was shoved underneath the rack with brand new girls’ dresses, some still in plastic. He would have to untangle school pants with holes and jumpers that looked more purple than blue from washing them too many times. The worst thing about that box was that someone had scrawled “Recycling” on it, but what they’d really meant to write was Florian’s name, because no one got clothes from that box. It stank of mould, too.

Because Terragen

crystal lake

Terragen 3! And that is enough reason to make this post.

I should buy the commercial version so I can make Mars landscapes for book covers.

Also, there was no photography for the second week in a row. My husband drove to Canberra, taking away not only the reason for me to get up at 5am, but the car I need to drive to the sites as well.

About my fiction: meet Izramith Ezmi from Soldier’s Duty

Izramith

Last night, I did a very quick character concept and render for Izramith Ezmi, the main character of Soldier’s Duty. She is, of course, the soldier, one of the fearful veiled guards at Hedron (about which I wrote a little while back). I’m thinking that before this character is cover-worthy, she’ll need a fearsome bloodied knife held towards the reader and some spooky lights. The background is probably going to be orange. Yes, there is a lot of urban-style fighting in the story.

A very rough “what is it about”:

In Barresh, they still haven’t dealt with a number of disagreements with neighbouring behemoth nation of Miran that’s sliding further into dictatorship. The Chief Councillor of Barresh, Daya, (who is also from Hedron originally) has hired her to oversee security at a high-profile wedding (read Trader’s Honour to find out who’s getting married), but prior to the festivities, a security patrol stumbles on evidence of a spying ring. The plot involves disgruntled locals, who used to earn handsome kickbacks under Mirani occupation, as well as any number of the many itinerant building workers in the city. Postponing the festivities would mean embarrassment. It is time to bring in the big guns, meaning: Izramith of the Hedron guards.

But she brings problems with her to a world that already has enough problems of its own. In a couple of loosely-related worlds, people have gone missing off the streets for years. Her uncle and newborn nephew are two of those people, and they are the reason why she agreed to leave her home in the first place. Because they are rumoured to be in Barresh.

Of course, the disappearances are related to the spying, which goes back to something that’s been mentioned passingly since Watcher’s Web, something that leads Izramith and a few die-hard suicide-wishers and frenemies deep into Miran for a mission whose hare-brained-ness will astound everyone.

So. Fighting. Hiding in disgusting places. Infighting (remember that association instinct in The Shattered World Within? Yeah, that). Sex. That, too. And a couple of “that wasn’t quite what I was expecting” moments.

Image of the Day has a froggy

Trial render with freebie version of Vue (hence the icon–this will disappear once you buy the licence).

A bit clumsy because I have no idea what I’m doing with this software yet, but I think we’ll call this a win.

Terragen!

I’ve moved my graphics stuff to DeviantArt, but this is too awesome not to be shared.

I’ve had terrible trouble with graphics files that require large amounts of user input, such as the bamboo tablet and any program that uses real-time previews of rendered files. The screen would freeze, go black, and it’d come up with “the graphics drive has crashed and recovered” and I’d have to re-start whatever graphics software I was using. It was an utter pain in the neck, and I tried installing the latest graphics driver, and using the bamboo tablet *very carefully*. Even so, it was impossible for me to run Terragen, and it is such an awesome program.

But!

I solved the problem!

(which was, incidentally, to run the computer at a lower speed–there is a button for this purpose at the top of my keyboard. Presumably it saves battery power)

So, I bring you Terragen:

(I’m going to have to buy the full version of this program now *makes eyes at writers who would like a $25 pre-made cover for their ebooks*)

I decided that a basic mountain valley looked too much like Afghanistan, so I added a lake. Light effects added in Photoshop.

Mordor! Same valley sans lake with a weird red sky setting and four layers of Photoshop effects.