Posts Tagged ‘Elizabeth Guizzetti’

Vote for the Title for Other Systems #2

Anyone who has been following my updates, know that I have been working on Other Systems #2. I have been playing with titles and just wondered  if anyone wants to vote on it!

Here are your options:

1) Other Systems: Lift

2) Other Systems: Reach

3) Other Systems: Divergence

Feel free to answer in the comments….and if anyone has any other ideas let me know… if someone comes up with something really good, you will be acknowledged in the book and you will get a free signed copy when it comes out.


Book 2’s prologue begins with Ian, a young English boy who lied to his mother in order to undergo the testing. When a Kiposi officer informs  his parents that he has been chosen, his father strikes him. However due to his mother’s tears, Ian decides to stay behind.

“Mum, please don’t cry,” he said. “I just wanted to explore the option. I wasn’t ever planning on really going. Dad, tell her. Look. Please look at me.”

He showed them the boarding pass and little booklet. “See!” And he opened the methane stove and tossed them on to the flame. For a moment, Ian considered putting his hand back into the stove, but the paper blackened and crinkled then turned to ash. His chance for the new Eden had been lost forever.

After the Kiposi leave with the second generation colonists, the book moves to Seattle. Reader’s may remember Mr. Alexander Johnson and Ray Boyd Lei from the first book, but the story mainly follows Ellie Rao Kessler one of Abby’s charges from the library.

Mr. Alexander Johnson heard the excitement mingled with sadness in his assistant’s voice as Abigail gave her resignation. She might miss working with him, but her eyes sparkled about her coming adventure.

“May God be with you, Miss Boyd Lei,” he said before he disconnected his vidscreen with a shaky hand. A few days ago when the Cloud reported the Kiposi were looking for second-generation colonists: he had known Abigail and Orchid would be chosen for the trip. The Boyd Lei girls were so bright. Their mother was beautiful. Their father was intelligent, far more than his station required. They cared about the betterment of his children and struggled to keep them in school as long as possible. A few days ago when the Cloud reported the Kiposi were looking for a generation of young colonists: he had known Abigail, Orchid, Jin, and Ray would all be welcome on a new planet.

For a moment, he felt a bit jealous. He was old. They would only take people between twelve and thirty. 


A frazzled Madam Cho Rao and her three small children were peeking inside the windows and knocking on the door. Madam Cho Rao had let her library membership expire a year ago after her husband “passed away,” but Alexander could never turn her or the children away.

“I was afraid no one would be here,” Madam Cho Rao said softly.

“Mr. Johnson, where’s Miss Boyd Lei?” Little Ellie asked. Her tiny hands formed into fists. “She’s supposed to be here!”

“Miss Boyd Lei went to a far away place called Kipos, she and her siblings were all invited,” Alexander explained. More to Madam Cho Rao than to Ellie.

Ellie’s lips started quivering. “Orchid too?”

“Yes,” Alexander said.

“Because the ships took them away?” Clive said excitedly, “Wow!”

“When are they coming back?” Ellie demanded. “Tomorrow?”

“They aren’t coming back,” Madam Cho Rao said softly.

“I want Miss Boyd Lei! I want Miss Boyd Lei and ORCHID!” Ellie screeched. Her pale cheeks glowing red with her toddler’s fury.

Madam Cho Rao moved to grab her, but Alexander pulled the child into a hug. He was surprised to find that even at his advanced age, he could still out maneuver an angry parent. “It’s fine, Madam, we’ll be fine. I’ll be hiring a new assistant as soon as I can.”

Madam Cho Rao looked on disapprovingly at her daughter’s tantrum, but clasped her hands together and bowed. She left quickly. She did not leave the children any lunch. She never did. She simply couldn’t afford it. 

The Kiposi left the space elevators to restart Earth’s space program, but no one really knows what to do with them. It takes seven years to form a plan. Now at age eleven, Ellie will run away from an arranged marriage and she will cross the world and even go all the way to our moon with dreams of a better life.  She will meet a young doctor with dreams of creating a utopia in the newly formed lunar prison colony.

So what do you think?

RustyCon 2013

This weekend I will be a panelist at Rustycon. Held at the Seatac Marriot, Rustycon is the first Science Fiction and Fantasy convention of the New Year in the greater Seattle area with a focus on literature, science, art, costumes, and gaming.

It is also my first convention of the year. I will be speaking on two panels.OS_Wallpaper_1

On Saturday How to Stay Alive until your ship comes in Moderated by Bruce Taylor/”mr. Magic Realism”, also with Robin Hobb and Kate Smith I have spoken on this topic before. Looking at the other authors, I think I might be the person with the fewest titles, so this is a subject which is very close to me. 😉

And Sunday Maps as World Building Devices Trying to write a novel, but getting lost in your own world? Learn to draw useful maps for science fiction and fantasy world building! Discussions may include basic weather systems, layout of cities, and natural resources. Supplies provided! Also on the panel is Michael Montoure Bruce Taylor/”mr. Magic Realism”

I also have excerpts and mini buttons for Other Systems and bookmarks for Faminelands #3: Mareton’s Curse to hand out. I have the swag packed up in my trunk. I’ll drive down tomorrow in order to pick up my badge.

Wish me luck!

My 1st year as an Author

This will be my last blog post of the year, since next week is Christmas. Dennis and I have some wonderful plans for the season.

Now I wrote and drew indie comics prior, so some might say I was an author before, but this year my first novel, Other Systems, was published by 48Fourteen. Not only was my first novel published, but also my first science fiction story Unintentional Colonists was published by Not only was my first novel published, but also my first science fiction story was published by Perihelion SF.

In some ways, my career changed drastically, however on an everyday level, it hardly changed at all. I still tend to work too much and get stressed out over things that don’t matter. I still have no real idea about balance. And I still don’t care about sales as much as I want to tell a good story.

I learned a lot.

I have felt that each of my titles have gotten better and better. Just by doing the work, I have become a stronger writer and a better artist. However Other Systems was the first book that went through professional editing. I learned that I do not always need to use a semi colon and I also learned so much about story telling between Juanita Samborski and David Kostiuk when working on Other Systems. Sam Bellotto Jr. at Perihelion SF let me now exactly how much description to put in.

Finally, I learned I cannot market Other Systems the same way we were marketing the comics. We have to do more social media for both the comics and my novels. Though often people do like comics and science fiction, the group of people that like both are surprising narrow.

That being said, while promotion is important, if one spends all their time on promotion, I will never get any work done on my next book. I have been working on The Martlet and Other Systems: Earth and that is where my energies need to lie. I can’t allow myself to be poisoned with thoughts of sales. It takes the joy out of writing

My 2013 Releases (That I know of…)

March 1 Faminelands #3: Mareton’s Curse

November 1 Out for Souls&Cookies #4 (The Christmas Special!!!) 

TBA: Other Systems is coming to print!


Other Systems was nominated for Turning The Pages Book of the Year 2012!

Other Systems was nominated for Turning The Pages Book of the Year 2012!

If you enjoyed it, please vote for it!

Other Systems Cover

Humans have begun to sprawl across the known galaxy, however without an influx of human DNA, the planet Kipos has eleven generations before it reaches failure. It takes over two centuries to get to Earth and back at near light speed. Other Systems follows Abby, an Earthling, who sees opportunity in Kipos’s need. After medical, intelligence, and physiological testing, She and her younger siblings, Jin and Orchid, are offered transportation. They leave the safety of their family with the expectation of good jobs, kindhearted spouses, and the opportunity for higher education. When Abby wakes up on Kipos, Jin cannot be found. Orchid is ripped from her arms as Abby is sold to a dull-eyed man with a sterilized wife. To survive, Abby must learn the differences in culture and language using the only thing that is truly hers on this new world: her analytical mind. To escape her captors, she’ll join a planetary survey team and discover yet another way of life.

If you want to check it out, please go to AmazonBarnes&Noble, or Kobo

I am about to share a deep dark secret: my magic formula to writing a novel or drawing a graphic novel…

I am not trying to be glib. I get asked this question every single convention, every reading, nearly every day. I will be asked again. Here is the magic formula: You do not wait for inspiration. You just get to work.

Anyone who tells you differently has not published a novel. All that matters is you sit down and get yourself to work.

That being said, somedays the words and drawing flow from your fingers. You know exactly which words to use and you look back on what you just wrote and think “This is art. This is literature. I am a WRITING GODDESS!”

Sometimes you do a reading of your work and everyone is listening to what you say, they laugh in the right places. You don’t stumble. I remember the day I made my first sale of The Carp’s Eye at ECCC 2008. I still remember the first time in 2009, I learned I had a single super fan then I learned there was twenty others. I still remember the day that I sold my first short story and four days later when I got paid.

However, not every day is like that. You work anyway. You put your butt in the chair and type until your fingers are sore. You have to draw until your hand cramps. I draw every panel by hand, then color on photoshop. My hands cramp up, my back and right shoulder get sore.

Being an author means you are on a constant roller coaster of emotions. You should weep when your protagonist does. You should feel scared. If you don’t, no one will. You have to let your characters take over. You become a vessel for their whims.

You keep writing and drawing. You do it when the days are long and you haven’t sold a book in a week. You have to do it the next day too. And the next and the next until one day you have something. The hours you put into it doesn’t matter. There is no guarantee. So that’s how you write a novel or draw a graphic novel.

Teamwork: The Making of Faminelands

Has anyone ever wondered what it is like to collaborate on a book or comic?

I am very lucky to work on the ZB projects with my best friend, Maria Masterson. Five years ago, when I began having the idea for this elf comic….what would become Faminelands. Maria was on maternity leave and I asked her if she wanted to do some editing. She became so much more than just doing editing. How did we make it work? Contracts.

We keep updated contracts and always speak of what might be in the future in order to no have hard feelings later.

We both agree that while I am the megalomanic with the ideas and determination to get the books done, she has the gift to hone my ideas, but you might be asking yourself what does that look like in the project itself.

First off, I write the main script.

Maria looks at it and does some developmental editing at that point.

Then I begin to draw. We discuss any part that I am having problems with during the storyboarding/penciling stage. Generally Maria has an idea that will add tension to the book. I ink, color, do a first round of lettering. 

Honestly, I try not to show Maria too much unfinished artwork, because she does not see it complete while in process.

She can’t look at my pencils and see artwork  as anything other than unfinished. So she doesn’t know what she likes or doesn’t like. Only when it is complete, if she sees problems with the artwork, I redraw, reink and recolor a page.

Maria and I go back and forth discussing each line of dialogue.  Sometimes we laugh, sometimes we get frustrated, but we always come to a decision. 

So that’s how our team works.

Any one else out there collaborate on projects? How do you get the work done?

If you like what you see consider donating to the Print Faminelands: Mareton’s Curse Kickstarter Campaign which is running between October 10 – November 9th. There are lots of exciting rewards.

Check it out!

Writing gray characters = fun (My favorite characters Lady Aster and Lord Brogan)

Okay for the past few days, I have written about how I write gray characters in Faminelands. I talked about both Orin and Lark, but today I am going to talk about how I wrote my two favorite characters: Lady Aster and her younger brother Lord Brogan.

Now in the main Famineland’s trilogy, Lady Aster don’t get a lot of panel time, but they were integral in Lark’s development as a warrior and her future within the House. They are very important characters in the freebie backstory which was given away with The Carp’s EyeThe History of Lady Meadowlark (as told by Lord Brogan)

The opening line is: As Champion of House T’Ralom Seasmhach, I swore to protect my elder sister, Lady Aster, as well as her descendants in blood or name. Aster is a wise and fair Matron. I hold her and her husband, Lord Arna, in high regard. For over five centuries, I have kept my vows and bear the scars of my service proudly.

When I wrote her, I always knew that Aster would serve the Fhorais Daoine and help their people survive. She has fought in countless wars, her history is bloody, and her name is legend. So everything I wrote about, I always kept that in mind. Sometimes it might seem as if she is cold or unfair, but what makes these characters both interesting to write and my favorites is they follow the Path of Valor even when they do not want to. They both suffer at times due to the code, yet they live by it, because it ultimately serves them and the people they are sworn to protect. Every choice, good, bad, or neutral, Aster makes for the good of her people and her House. Yet it is not blind faith that leads her, but logic, cunning, and the understanding of their enemies. Aster has made plenty of controversial decisions as Matron of House T’Ralóm, including keeping Brogan alive after the loss of his leg and most importantly to the Faminelands Series, Aster chooses the fate of Nora’s bastard daughter, Lark. This is told from Lark’s perspective in the Carp’s Eye and then a much closer version to the truth in the History…

One summer’s day, Nora did not return from a mission as planned. Each day, the bowyer grew thinner and harder. A month later, we received word that Nora had indeed fallen in a battle. There was no body. I escorted my sister to the bowyer’s hut to deliver the news. For the first time, Aster held Lark as they both wept for Nora. The bowyer would not speak, but sat staring into the flames. During the Moon of Mourning, the bowyer ignored the food which was brought to his hut. Lark had only eaten a little before we heard his mad ramblings, the child’s screaming, and the sound of wood against flesh. After that, Lark scavenged for food.

A few more things happen, then  Calafas goes looking for Nora’s body.

Roan heard screams. He sent word to us and ran to the bowyer’s hut. The man held a bow as he dragged his daughter out the door but they had not food, nor warm clothes. The bowyer snapped, “Forgive us, Noble One, I search for my wife, and you stand in my way.”

Lady Aster called, “Calafas, Your sorrow might demand death, but what of your child?”

Hate filled the bowyer’s eyes as he stared at my sister. He did not seem to care that I unsheathed my sword as he took a step towards us. “I search for my wife, Lady, as YOU will not! My girl needs her mother.”

Lady Aster interrupted, “The child cannot make such a journey in her state.”


This History of Lady Meadowlark Page 9

Aster did this for a few reasons none of which were charity. Lark might be a bastard, but even so Aster does not want to lose Nora’s bloodline which is important to the Daoine and their Southern Cousins.

Lark was a good apprentice, but as all kids do she made a few serious mistakes. The picture below from the History… shows the aftermath of Lark’s affair with Galdor. Galdor is in the foreground. Aster and Arna are discussing what to do with both kids. Arna wants to send Lark to a temple, his sister’s House, anywhere but near Galdor who is the future Patron of House Sarralonde. Aster refuses him. In the background, while angry, Brogan and Roan (Brogan’s grown son) are comforting Lark.

Aster and Brogan took her on the road with them to keep her out of trouble. Spending three years with them on the road as a mercenary gave Lark a singular view of battle that would help her defeat her many enemies. Nora had an important job within the Daoine and her death made a hole in the ranks. Aster and Brogan train Lark to be the warrior that Nora was.

They train her well. Lark wins a war and becomes the Lady Meadowlark Daughter of Lady Nora. However after her ascension he can no longer be there for her the way he was when she was a girl. This pains him a great deal. Yet in his own words…

 I had no comfort to offer Lark. She was no longer my ward or considered a child. I would not risk accusation from one of the lower ranks. Lark did not blame me for this, her self loathing was complete. However I would not allow Nora’s scandal or Roan’s folly to be repeated. Lady Aster would find her a suitable nobleman who would be gentle, but that would take time.

Aster and I spoke at length of Lark’s sorrow. “Dear Sister, Perhaps it is best if Lark finds her own way: let her find Orin, perhaps even the bowyer if he lives.”

“Without a champion? The rumors…” I could see the sorrow in Aster’s eyes, she had lost her husband and many Children. She could not lose another.

I answered her, “Lark has spent time in the world. Orin would be a great warrior. We have heard rumors of valor and of debauchery. Truth is always somewhere in the middle.”

So we are talking about someone who let a young girl wander Talamh alone. Once The Carp’s Eye starts, Lark is on the road with Orin, Aster and Brogan are sources of information and advisors, but must leave her to her own path. Well, pretty much as you can see from this image from Living Stone.

Living Stone Page 25

Since part of Brogan’s duties include protecting Aster and her named bloodline which includes Lark.  In Living Stone, he is the one who warns Orin, “If she is harmed again, you will feel it tenfold.” Yep, that’s right, its Brogan who chooses Orin’s fate. Instead of public censor or death, he chooses to have Roan retrain Orin to be a nobleman.

And in the upcoming Mareton’s Curse, Aster will begin make other decsions that will effect Orin and Lark’s future happiness. As I alluded to, Lark will be married to someone whose main attribute is that he has a suitable bloodline. Love has nothing to do with it.

If you like what you see, please consider donating to the Print Faminelands: Mareton’s Curse Kickstarter Campaign.

There are lots of exciting rewards that start at $1.00 and go up to $500. There is even a chance for you to be the King or Queen of Mareton and interact with Lark, Orin and Roan in the book.

Check it out!

Consider investing in Faminelands: Mareton’s Curse KickStarter Campaign!

Consider investing in Faminelands: Mareton’s Curse!

Cover for Faminelands: Mareton’s Curse

The Faminelands Trilogy follows Lark as she endeavors to return her brother Orin to the Path of Valor which he abandoned decades before. In Mareton’s Curse, a shared vision puts Lark, Orin, and their kinsman on a path to search for the lost prince of Mareton.
 As the famine worsens, each must make decisions regarding the future of their House and their own happiness.

Faminelands has been a labor of love since its conception five years ago. Although we’ve made huge steps, such as selling our first 250 copies of The Carp’s Eye, funding an independent project such as Faminelands has been a huge challenge. As many of our fans know, we have been making micro-runs to keep the books in print.

With this Kickstarter campaign, our focus is to make a large print run on Mareton’s Curse. A large print run will lower the unit cost per book. We will continue to use an American printer. The book will be 100 pages, perfect bound 6.625 x 10.25 paperback in glorious full color.

We appreciate how much our fans love the books and support the project both financially and by spreading the word. In order to make the print run, we need to raise $2000.

As you can see we have some great rewards tiers starting at $1 for our eternal gratitude and a shoutout Tweet and going up to $500 for an appearance in the book.


This is an example of what your original artwork might look like as each drawing will be a unique piece of artwork featuring Lark. If you have a preference in weaponry (knives or bow) you can let me know.
If you want to see more of Lark, Orin, or any of your other favorite characters, please consider supporting this great comic. Thank you!
Link to Kickstarter Campaign!

Hey everybody check out Perihelion SF — and my short story “Unintentional Colonists”

This is an image I created of Ounizo for Other Systems. It is not in the magazine, but it fits well for the blog post 🙂

Perihelion Science Fiction is back and now live. In the relaunch issue, they published my short story Unintentional Colonists about astronauts on a long term mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa!

Besides my story, there is other great sci-fi short stories and articles.

Saturday Night in Saskatchewan by Steve Stanton

Praise the System by J. Richard Jacobs

Network Outage Engineer by Erin Lale

Mr. Weston’s Key by Todd A. Burnett

Central Battle Command, Allied Forces: Day Four by Marilyn K. Martin

We Do Not Serve Weeping Men by Eric Del Carlo

Zeros … All Those Zeros! by Eric M. Jones

Facing Facts—And Analyzing Them by John McCormick

Plus an amazing Cover by Jason Yungbluth.





Writing gray character = fun! (Character Development of Lark)

In the second part of Writing gray characters= fun, I am going to introduce you to Lady Meadowlark, Daughter of Lady Nora and Calafas the Bowyer. Younger sister to Oroderthin and older sister to Calthal.

Though Lark is a “good” character, she too falls in the realm of a gray character– primarily because she will do anything to succeed. She believes in the “ends justifies the means” even when she is the one who faces loss by her decisions.

Lark was Nora’s first child to prove her place in House T’Ralom and named beloved granddaughter of Lady Aster. As I said in Orin’s post, Lark came to me very close to fully formed. It was her counterpart which was the question. Even so, there were a few things I needed to work out when I first began to write the stories.

Obviously the first issue was their relationship. The second one was how do I make this young lady on a dangerous quest a little more interesting?

Hypothesis: the most boring stories are wishes that come true without trials. Lark has two spoken goals in bringing Orin back to the Daoine. First of all, she believes this will cure their father’s broken heart and make him well. Secondly it will prove that Nora’s bloodline is strong. She also has one private wish: that Orin will provide kinship that she needs.

So those are her goals, but how did I make Lark herself more interesting?

As I said in the previous post: making Lark and Orin siblings makes it easier for them to be cruel to each other without dire consequences, while Orin is basically a villain softened through the eyes of his little sister, what makes Lark interesting is her hard side mixing with her weakness.


1) She is not an ingenue. Prior to The Carp’s Eye, she fought both the internal and external enemies of the Darien and won a war for the Daoine which has caused her promotion to Lady of the Forest at the tender age of 85. (If she had been a human girl, she would have been about 14).  She knows how to win wars. Throughout the books, the reader sees it is her who sees how to get things done.

2) She doesn’t like hurting people, but she will do what is necessary.  

Lark’s memory of her nights with Galdor from Living Stone

3)  Unlike other young maidens, she is not a virgin. Prior to her journey to find Orin, she had an affair with Galdor– a boy from her village. She is in love with him, but his jealousy of her promotion tore them apart.  Orin knows she made a “little mistake with Galdor” and like many big brothers, he doesn’t particularly want her talking to boys until she is older.  Lark likes talking to boys and will even disobey Orin to do so, but she doesn’t sleep around simply because she understands how babies are made. (Lord Brogan and Healer Nonia made sure of this fact after Galdor.)


1) Lark was abandoned many times in her life, now her need for companionship and love is so great that she accepts abuse.  (As I said in the previous post, physical abuse of children was a learned behavior in their household/society.) As an adult brother of a child normally he would have authority over her, but Lark is not just a kid anymore, she is also a Lady of the Daoine. Inside the village, due to her rank, if she ever tells anyone that Orin hits her, their extended family will kill them, so she keeps quiet.

Another point which is related, but not exactly a weakness is Lark has had such a tough life, that she prefers death to failure. She doesn’t always think of the consequences of her actions and will put her life and her place in the House on the line. The reader sees this during the Goblin Skirmishes when she stood up against the entire counsel, how she stood against Malak in order to protect Orin during the Carp’s Eye and how she disobeyed Orin in Living Stone because she knew of the job (and as you can see from the image below rescued two puppies in the process.)

So that is an introduction to Lark’s character. How do you form your characters?

If you like what you see consider supporting the Print Faminelands: Mareton’s Curse Kickstarter Campaign which is running between Mid- October to Mid November. More information to follow….

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