A Couple of Comics

It may come as no surprise, given the recent release of Ugly, that I have been known to read comic books. Not all of them come with characters dressed in skin-tight suits and capes, and a couple of the non-superheroic ones have crossed my reader recently which I thought it would be interesting to throw in here because they’re fantasy, urban fantasy at that. They are also just starting, issue number one is out now! So you don’t need to catch up on a huge history like you do with, say, DC or Marvel.

Chastity is a book by Andreyko Acosta, published by Dynamite comics. I’d seen the cover before I read a recommendation from a fairly respected comic blogger. Now, I should have read the fine print: the blogger was saying that the people producing the comic were good, but they hadn’t actually seen it… Oh well, it’s not actually that bad, but the cover… The cover is a con. The alternate cover, which comes as the second page in the electronic edition, is an even bigger con. What we get in the first book is some adequate, but not exactly exciting art, and a vast amount of backstory… and then it ends and we have to wait for the next part to find out pretty much anything. It’s a vampire plotline, Chastity is going to end up as a vampire. This we know. The vampire who attacks her is, to be honest, badly stereotyped, but I do know how hard it is to create a throwaway bad guy without resorting to tacky stereotypes.

In short, I can’t recommend Chastity at this stage, but it shows a bit of promise. I may try another book before I say it’s hopeless.

And then there is Death Vigil. This is the work of Stjepan Sejic, and it’s now being released by Top Cow. We’ll set aside the fact that it cost me the same for 48 pages as Chastity did for 24, and just look at the actual product. Stjepan has his own style of art (and if you haven’t clicked on the link under his name yet, make sure you do because his DA site is an absolute treat) and a great sense of humour. Now, his artistic style may not be for some, and I tend to find his characters have a certain look about them which can be seen as a little samey. But you open up Death Vigil and you’re faced with vivid colours and action. Something happens in this book. Actually from an “extreme summary” viewpoint, the plots of both books are not dissimilar: a girl dies and she’s going to be something else. The difference is that we get beautifully drawn action, funny dialogue, and a resolution in one book, with a teaser ending designed to pull you back for the second issue. Death Vigil is a beautifully executed bit of writing in a form I’d give my eye-teeth to be able to replicate, and it’s a nice piece of hidden-magic, modern fantasy. Also, the Grim Reaper is called Bernadette. How can you go wrong with that? I can’t wait for the next part.

I’ve given links above the the publishers’ pages for these books, but I got my copies through ComiXology, and I’m sure they are both available through other online retailers, maybe even in real shops too. Go, read, enjoy.

Know Your Demons: Devos and Devim

Know Your Demons

The most common of the higher demon species, and the most likely to rise to Lord status, the Devos and Devim conform to the shape most recognised to Earth humans when they think of a demon or devil. Looking at them you could almost believe that they are either different species, or that Devim are the children of Devos, but the truth is a little more tragic (in the eyes of humans anyway; not that many have heard the truth).

Both Devos and Devim have iridescent, purple skin, long horns, bat wings, cloven hooves on digitigrade feet, and a pointed tail. Fangs and claws are a given. Then we hit the big difference: Devos are roughly human-sized, typically a little taller, but you could put that down to the leg structure, but the tips of the horns on a Devim rarely make it up to someone’s neck if they stand on hooftip. For those who have never seen a “demon” before, Devos are demons and Devim are imps. Maybe Devim are somehow a related species? Well, no.

The majority of Devos births result in Devim. Physically male, they are infertile, weak, runts of the litter in a litter of runts. Many families toss them out on the streets to fend for themselves and a Devos female who has never managed to birth a Devos is viewed as second-class. She’s likely to be more frustrated with herself, however, and her lack of Devos children is unlikely to endear her Devim to her: often quite the opposite. The lucky Devim are generally those born with or just after a Devos birth since their parents are often more inclined to be generous. And yes, once, a long time ago, one Devim did manage to become a Lord, which just shows what you can do if you’re determined enough.

Both Devos and Devim have an affinity for fire and fire magic. They can throw around fire bolts more or less at will, and frquently know more than a few fire spells. Devos are summoned as general-purpose demons, the default when you don’t know what you need. They will tutor in magic, especially fire magic, and perform other services. Devim are generally used as messengers.

(PS. There was supposed to be a new illustration here with Devos and Devim in, but I’m having some issues with some old models. There might be a new illustration for this at some point, but this poor post has been waiting ages to get published.)

The Inspiration Bug

Terry Pratchett had this idea that inspiration passed constantly through the universe as a stream of particles which would, occasionally, interact with a mind. Some people, unfortunately for them, have denser brains or something and inspiratons (I just made that up) interact with them more often. That’s how I’m feeling at the moment.

Reality Hack is on hold; I didn’t think I’d take it to a full draft right now, but I’ve called a halt while I work out where I’m going with it. Good start, but it needs some careful though or it’s going to go off on a tangent.

Besides, last weekend while I was putting Ugly out I had this inspiraton smack me in the brain and now I’m writing High Fantasy (or as high as I get anyway). I mean it’s got dragons in it! No idea when that one’s going to see daylight, or if it ever will, but it’s got some cool stuff and I actually do know where I want it to go. Bit epic for me, but we’ll see what happens.

Except that I really have to sit down and write the next Aneka Jansen book soon if I’m going to get it out before Christmas like I promised. I am, however, happy to be doing some random stuff before then. It helps stop me going funny.

Funnier. Sorry, yeah, it helps stop me going funnier.

Ugly Reality

Yeah, so this weekend my next book, Ugly, is coming out. It’s a superhero novel, which is an odd topic for a fantasy blog, but then I guess superheroes are as much fantasy and sci-fi. Anyway, more details coming soon.

In other news, I wrapped the main text on Vengeance and set it aside for a bit to breathe. Last night I started my first read-through; in this case because I new there were tweaks I wanted to make before giving it a proper break prior to the first main edit. It’s still on track for August, I’ve even got a slot booked with Kate for proofreading.

Meanwhile I needed a little break so I put down a marker for the next Thaumatology book (yes, the next one’s in the works already, though it’ll be several months before it sees print), and then I had an idea smack me between the eyes… and Reality Hack was born. I’m going to have some trouble classifying this one: it’s urban fantasy, horror, sci-fi, and the erotic element is a bit more explicit. I think it might make it out into the light of day though. So far the characters are working for me and that’s always a good sign.

The New Look Overlord

As you know I’m writing the twelfth book in the Thaumatology series. It now has a name, at least a working one, and I suspect it’ll stay. Book 12 will be called Vengeance. Make of that what you will.

I’ve also been doing some remodelling on my two favorite fantasy characters. I’m not entirely sure I’ve got Lily down right yet. May need a little more work. Ceri, however, looks awesome. She’s come out looking a little like Lena Headey, which is just a perfect look for her. (No, I’m not a Game of Thrones fan; it didn’t occur to me that she was in it until I checked the spelling of her name.)

Since this is a somewhat risque render, I’ll reveal their new look after the break. And please let me know if you think Lily looks great and I’m just being paranoid.

Continue reading

That Next Book

I don’t even have a working title, but I’m working on the next Thaumatology novel, and I’ve got a (very preliminary) target date for release.

Expect to see Ceri and Lily strutting through your e-reader sometime around August 16th.

It’s been a while since I wrote them and I’m currently reading through some of the previous books to get my brain back in the zone. That’s never good; far too much “oh I wouldn’t have written that like that now.” Still, it’ll be fun getting back in touch with the girls.