Medieval World Building
Private group · 7 members
Join Group
For people who write medieval fantasy, play medieval rpgs, and the people who read or play those worlds. For me, the medieval world is 1066 to 1509, b...

There be dragons here, and here, and here . . .

Hi, All!

For the past thirteen months I’ve been hard at work world-building for the next series of novels I’m putting out. Part of said world-building has been establishing heraldry for all the various places and families in my setting, and I wanted to do something special for that.

Rather that simply draw new art for the crests, I opted to reuse and re-purpose existing medieval art. It makes everything seem so much more authentic, and it’s been a fun deep-dive into this historical skill.

Of course we re-purposed the art for multiple uses, because it had become a thing of it’s own.

Go here!

Virtual Panel of Writers

Last night I had the pleasure to take part in a panel of superhero writers discussing antiheroes and fallen heroes. Enjoy!

Review, Shall We?

Life moves more slowly in the era of Quarantine, but stuff is still happening. On a personal level, Benita and I have been working on our house, planting trees, and catching up on projects. The medieval library is almost done, the stairs are almost done, and it’s time to fix up the garage and get my shop out there functional.

I haven’t been writing or drawing, and that weighs on my soul, but it just hasn’t felt right for a while. I think the tension in the world is getting to me a bit. Well, a lot, but that doesn’t make me unique by any measure. I have been editing on Name of the Shadow, which is almost there, and I plan for it to come out this Autumn. I’ve also been hard at work on fantasy cartography, labeling and detailing the the giant (3′ x 5′!) Aorlis map. I’m taking my time and doing it right, because I believe it will be a masterpiece.

I recently did an extended and very candid interview with B.W. Morris on his site. You can read it here. I’ve put up several new videos on my Youtube channel. For the time being, I’ve ceased writing articles on Shoutfyre, because my creative wells on the comic book front have run dry.

Blacksmithing and longsword training both got stopped by the pandemic. I’ll probably not pick up any blacksmithing courses until next year, and I’m not sure about time on the longsword. I was stretched a little thin when I was doing all of it at the same time, I suppose.

This time has really reinforced what introverts Benita and I are. We can both be outgoing, we both make friends easily, but being to ourselves comes so much more naturally. Having said that, last Sunday we did go visit my mom. I was really missing her, but I’m glad to say that she and Floyd are looking great. I didn’t get to see my sister, because she was busy elsewhere helping one of her friends.

While we were out, Benita and I went to a Half-Price Books in Avon. We didn’t buy anything, because they were pretty sold down, but getting out and getting some “bookstore therapy” was exactly what our hearts needed. That’s a feeling that the internet can never replace.

Our air conditioner is out, probably low on freon, so we’ve lived the last three days without it. Luckily, the temperatures have been low, but it’s still humid. It’s strange, because it all reminds me of my youth on the farm. It makes me think of green grass, bumblebees, the musty smell of barns, and open fields that reach into the horizon. It also makes it hard to sleep, because we are use to keeping the house cool. Thank goodness for ceiling fans.

The weight loss journey took a few bumps, and I’m sad to say that for a little while Benita and I cheated on our diet. It was a weird combination of boredom, frustration with the world situation, and opportunity, I guess. I’m not making excuses, it just is what it is. My weight fluctuated up about five lbs, although since then we have reset our systems with an egg fast, and I’m now back to my lowest weight. I need to walk more, and I’ve still got 42 lbs to go to reach my goal weight. I’ve lost 48 lbs. in the last six months.

What else? Well, I’ve gotten a copy of the Deryni Role Playing Game, and the Codex Derynianus, both are amazing products, and they make me appreciate the amazing Deryni world of Katherine Kurtz more than ever.

I got a Peter Ginn book on Slow Tech, which is beautiful and full of amazing information. You may know Peter from War Time Farm, or Secrets of the Castle, or other BBC shows. He’s an archeologist and presenter, and I’ve valued his work for a long time now.

I finished reading the first book in the Song of Fire and Ice series by George R.R. Martin, and I was hugely entertained. It has really reinvigorated my desire to be world building and writing low fantasy historical-themed fiction. I’ve begun the second book in the series.

We’ve also watched a lot of Ghost Hunter type shows, because that’s a genre we love. And, we’ve watched quite a few Tony Robinson walk-with-history type of shows. Love that guy.

New Interview with Me–Writing, Art, & More

You can find the interview here, on B.W. Morris website. Enjoy!

Blacksmithing Adventure Begins

New Video–Medieval Shutters!

New Art Video–Color Study!

Color Study! Painting Benita’s Portrait!

New Video!

In this video, I show off the art included in our new anthology Story Studios Presents Changing of the Guard, explain some of my art techniques, and show who the characters in the book are.

Witty Title Placed Here

I’m back to editing my next book. It’s almost done, and it’s big.

I’m not going to mention it again until its done and ready to go. One thing I’ve learned in the last couple of years is don’t show off work, be it art or writing, until it’s done. Don’t use up people’s energy and interest for a project, and don’t make them invested and then take forever to get the project done. Hard lesson learned.

I am also not going to bother with all the “surefire” methods and master classes and books on the foolproof ways to self-publish. Been there, and now I’ve seen through it. I will promote, and I will be even better at it, but ultimately writers should deliver a product that readers want. You don’t have to be a hack, and jump on every bandwagon for a quick buck, but the work needs to be good.

Having said that, I can see how my work, and my storytelling, could be improved. No, I’m not saying how, nor offering a masterclass, or foolproof method, or a surefire program. I simply am going to tell the best story I can. I have some personal writing mentors, I guess you could say, and I can see how they structure their promotions, and that’s what I will do. Maybe I’ll even try to get my next book published through traditional publishers rather than do it all myself.

I haven’t been blogging lately, and haven’t inaugurated that newsletter I promised. I should, but I haven’t. I guess I’m still dealing with burn out from my days of having a web comic. Taking that step forward fills me with trepidation. (OK, it’s more like PTSD, but you get the idea.

I haven’t spoken here about the Diamond Distribution shutdown because I don’t personally have a horse in that race. I do have friends in the industry who are very much impacted, though. I feel for them, and hope they all make it through this time. I guess we’ll all be interested to see what the general lay of the land is at the end of the pandemic.


Unorganized Updates

Hello, Friends!

Lots of stuff going going on, but no real thread or theme within them.

Wednesday I begin my next installment of blacksmithing classes at the Indianpolis Art Center. The first classes were a success, and I began to get a handle on what I’m doing there. I’ve got some neat stuff to show off next time we do a video.

For the past two Saturdays I’ve worked out with the Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) instructors and students at the local fencing club. It has been humbling and educational. The longsword, aka the bastard sword or war sword, has long been my favorite medieval sword. So far I have not gotten the hang of it, but I’m willing to put the work in.

I have not been writing prose in a while, and I miss it. I have not been creating art for a while, either. What I have been doing is continuing my work on the infamous medieval room, and it’s looking really cool.

I also have not made the videos I intended to make to cover the medieval room and its progress. They are coming, and they’ll be fun and educational. I just do not have the technical expertise to do them myself, and Benita has been very busy with work.

I have come to recognize a real sense of detachment when it comes to promotion of my various projects. It seems to be a strange mix of impostor syndrome and out-of-body phenomenon. I’m beginning to feel I can’t wake up and get a handle on it. Some of my creator friends are really good at it, but so far not me. I think I burned out somewhat back in my webcomics days.

It’s probably been obvious from my recent posts, but my creative subject matter has switched from superhero material to medieval. Benita and I have a ten-issue Johnny Saturn comic roughly plotted out, but I don’t think either of our hearts are in it. We’ve both moved in different directions since them. I believe I will do comics again at some point, but when that is a bit uncertain.

If you are into medieval stuff for writing, gaming, Larping, whatever, I have a new Facebook group called Medieval World Building. Come, join. Be jolly. Huzzah!

Self-Publishing Post Mortem

Now that the book launch period is over for Story Studios Presents Changing of the Guard, it’s probably a good time to look at what worked, what didn’t, and what I could have done better.

What Didn’t Work

Bookfunnel: No effect that I can tell

KDP Rocket: Again, no effect

Asking Fellow Authors for Reviews: Of the 20 authors who agreed, four actually did reviews. Asking and following up was an awkward process, and I hated asking people for favors. It’s not in my nature to ask for help. I suck at it.

What Worked

Not much. This was my first time at seriously trying to self-publish a book, and my efforts seem to have had a limited effect.

What Could I Have Done Better?

Lots. But, let’s get a little more precise.

I could have been much active in self-promotion on social media.

Since I spent all my money on Bookfunnel, having the novel formatted by a pro, Vellum for future books, and KDP Rocket, and a broken copy of Kindle Samurai (for which I never got much help from the publisher OR a refund), I didn’t buy any promotion.

When I say I didn’t purchase promotion, I mean like the giveaway sites like Bookbub.

I didn’t join in any group promotions with other authors. Frankly, I didn’t understand the process, and I still am pretty fuzzy on it.

I didn’t solicit any interviews, podcasts, etc. These have never helped in the past with other projects, and I don’t like doing them, so I skipped that part.

For reasons that need not be elaborated on, I quit a writer’s group that has pretty reasonable promotion capabilities. I stand by my decision on that.

There may be more reasons, but one of my main shortcomings is I have not begun a newsletter. My reasons include fear of commitment, and not wanting to add one more thing to my plate.

What’s Next?

I plan to do much better this time. This last time, after all the hassles to wrangle reviews and failed attempts at formatting it, I was burned out bad. That was not the mental state to go forward in. I cannot do that to another book.

Publishing Stuff!

Greetings and Salutations, Friends!

Story Studios Presents Changing of the Guard is now available in paperback, as well as an ebook, on Amazon!

I’ve also updated our Bookfunnel page to reflect this. Sadly, the ebook and the print book entries have not yet combined on Amazon, but we just have to give them a little time.

Plus, read this great new review!

Brian K Morris5.0 out of 5 stars Straight From the PulpsFebruary 14, 2020Format: Kindle EditionThe Changing of the Guard takes me back to the days where every pulp story-based city concealed secrets in every shadow and war occurred in neighborhoods where decent men and women feared to tread. However, a select group of special beings existed to combat evil…and this book by the Storys continues that tradition.

And what a cast of characters. This is a setting that definitely shows the benefits of detailed planning and I’m looking forward to exploring it further in future volumes. By the way, the artwork inside and out is beautiful. Well done!