Posts Tagged ‘literature’

Character Dossier: Brian Tolis from Other Systems!

Ok, we took a break from character dossiers while Other Systems release. Lets get back to them! As I have said, I will be posting my original character dossiers for each of the major characters over the course of the next few weeks so if you want to see your favorite character’s dossier stay tuned.  Here is the order: Abby,  ColeHardenHelen, Mark, Brian, Diane, Pat and Rockford! I admit I am not putting up anything with spoilers.

Here the character for Brian Tolis: Ships Mechanic of The Revelation.

Physical Description  He is a homo khlorosan which means he has tan skin with embedded microscales. His hair is dark brown and he has gold eyes. Tall, somewhat muscular.  Large calloused hands.

Paternal Ancestry (on Earth): Unknown, but most likely mixed European / Maternal: Mixed European

Clothing: On ship: coveralls over a t-shirt, on leave: coveralls over a t-shirt. Only times he dresses up is for off-ship dinners. Slacks, and a button down shirt and a jacket. He wears a bracelet that Helen gave him on their wedding.

Character Description: Easy going, slightly Introverted, but kind hearted.
(Most people who know him would be surprised to learn that he is shy.) He will do anything for Helen. In social situations, he leans on Helen or Diane unless talking mechanics/ships. Social drinker, sometimes likes to have a beer when coming off duty, but never drinks to excess.

Education: Doctorate in Engineering & Management

Job: Revelation’s mechanic. Age when protagonist comes into his life: Early 30’s

Virtues: Loyal, honest. Loves his crew/family.

Vices: none mentioned, but he can be a pushover, often over shadowed by others.

Step 4: Relationships: Parents: Raised by Mom, Andrea Tolis
Dad unmentioned

Siblings: Brother  Anders (originally +5 years) Brian has been overshadowed by Anders.

Nephew Luke (-15 years)

Offspring: Sterilized. He was sterilized when he joined the Alekos fleet the first time they landed in Kipos space.

Romantic Relationships: Primarily Heterosexual (though like most fleet brats he enjoyed bi-sexual experimentation in his late teens and 20’s.) He never knew real love until he met Helen. Then he never wanted to be without her. They married after six days.

Though she wasn’t crazy about the match, Andrea Tolis said, “Helen would be the type of woman who is good for him.” And she is.


Other Systems CoverSales Links:


Meet Mark Alekos of Other Systems

To celebrate the coming print version of Other Systems, I will be posting my original character dossiers for each of the major characters over the course of the next few weeks so if you want to see your favorite character’s dossier stay tuned.  Here is the order: Abby,  ColeHarden, Helen, Mark, Brian, Diane, Pat and Rockford! I admit I am not putting up anything with spoilers.


Final time you all have to see this sketch! Mark leans towards his siblings, he is actually touching Helen.

Mark Alekos is Cole’s youngest. He was born during the brief time Rosemary and Cole lived together on Cole’s ship. She stayed until he was potty trained and then went back to her own ship. He was an incredibly lonely, somewhat reserved kid.

Physical Description : Tan skin with embedded microscales. Green eyes which came from his mother. Heavier and more muscular than brother, due to body type and the way he smiles, he reminds people of his dad.

Ancestry from Earth: Paternal: Greece
Maternal: French and English.

Clothing: He loves to dress up, though rarely has a place to dress up for.

Other: Sometimes reserved, other times outspoken, he does love people. Social drinker, sometimes likes to have a beer when coming off duty, but never drinks to excess. He doesn’t like junk food.

Relationships: Parents: Cole Alekos and Rosemary Finch. Raised by Dad, but after parents separate, she is a radio transmission. Strained relationships when he was a teen.

Siblings: Brother Harden (+15 years) He loves his big brother, but they only become close after Mark becomes an adult.
Sister, Helen (originally +14 years/ +9 years) she mothered him when he was young, now they are great friends.

Offspring: None. Sterilized at age six.

Romantic Relationships: Bi-Sexual and used to fooling around

Other Systems CoverSales Links:

Meet the protagonist of Other Systems: The Character Dossier of Abigail Boyd Lei

To celebrate the coming print version of Other Systems, I will be posting my original character dossiers from Other Systems for each of the major characters over the course of the next few weeks so if you want to see your favorite character’s dossier stay tuned.  Here is the order: Abby,  Cole, Harden, Helen, Mark, Brian, Diane, Pat and Rockford! I admit I am not putting up anything with spoilers.

So let’s get started with Abby.

Rover, Abby, and Rockford!

Rover, Abby, and Rockford!

Abby (Abigail Boyd Lei)

Ancestral Background: Half Scottish/half Chinese. Mother’s family from Seattle Area worked in factories for as long as anyone could remember, Father’s family expected more from Cameron. Parents married, Abby born seven months later. (You do the math)

Father: Cameron Boyd (Factory Foreman)

Mother: Lei Sun Lei (Also works in Factory)

Siblings: Raymond, (Commune Farm) Jin, (Factory) Joseph (deceased at age 2) Orchid (age 11, she spends most days with Abby at Library)

Other family members mentioned : Grandmother and Tara (Family Pet/ guard dog.)

Born in the city state of Seattle on planet Earth, Has never been outside Seattle until the Kiposi come.

Physical Appearance: Straight black hair, black eyes with gold flecks, pale tan skin

Employment: Assistant Librarian. Works with Mr. Alexander Johnson. All of the Boyd Lei offspring came to the library when they were little. Mr. Johnson feeling Abby’s intellect would be wasted on the factory assembly line, hired her. Since he is an old man without children, she reads to him.

Age in Book 17-19

Virtues: Intelligent

Vices: She can be manipulative. Prior to her trauma, she is fearless. After her trauma, she has trouble dealing with her fear, especially fear of the dark. Sweet-tooth.

Other: Loves to read and is a stargazer

Other Systems Cover
Sales Links:
Website with deleted scenes and other extras!

It’s going to be an Other Systems-tastic time.

Sorry it’s been awhile since I did a blog post, but its been an Other Systems-tastic couple weeks and it looks like next week will be more of the same as we get closer to print. This is just an update, expect that next week some of this info will be repeated.

First of all some great news: I am the featured author in this month’s GETLF8D.
The first part of Chapter 7 is in there and next month the second part will be featured. You can read it for free so check it out!

Also Other Systems was recommened by the three nerds! All three gave it 5 star reviews! 

NEW COVER: The new cover is finished on my side of things. 48Fourteen is putting together print the PDF and sending it to the printer. As soon as everything is okayed I will be doing a big cover reveal next week. The website is being redone with the new cover and the trailers will be redone next week after the reveal.

Rover, Abby, and Rockford!

FLASH SALE & PROMOTION: Also next weekend there will be a flash sale for Other Systems’s e-book. It will be .99 cents Friday through Sunday. So if you have been thinking about checking it out, you might want to check it out then.

During the Flash Sale, I will be running a BIG giveaway on my blog and FB pages. This is image of Abby, Rover and Rockford is part of that. More information to come.

Finally BLOG TOUR: there will be a blog tour (which as soon as I get the okay about the cover I will be making the banners). If you are a blogger and  interested in hosting a stop (review, guest blog, interview, promotional stop)  please contact:

What I like best about being an author…

Lady Mira with pistol

Lady Mira with pistolI have always been an avid reader of any genre of speculative fiction, but I became a lover of  non-fiction after I became became an author. Both short essays and longer books.

I have always been an avid reader of any genre of speculative fiction, but I became a lover of  non-fiction after I became became an author. Both short essays and longer books.

An author has to often be a dilettante. They must learn about something enough to write about it convincingly. I get a lot of joy from encountering the BIG Idea for a manuscript then figuring out what I need to research. As I previously wrote about in this blog post back in ’12: I do not believe in general research, I believe in specific targeted research.

I love the fact that this research builds upon itself with each story. In Other Systems, I learned about astronomy, nautical terms and what flight lessons are like and difficulties that astronauts go through in low gravity. Later, I used some of this knowledge for Unintentional Colonists and even a bit when I described the Expanse in The Martlet. And I am currently working on a short ghost story about orbital clutter that is also using some of the same research.

This is even true with the graphic novels. In Lure, I learned about a stampeder’s journey and hardships during the Yukon Goldrush and in Faminelands, I learned about archery and swordsmanship. All of that knowledge was used  again in the The Martlet‘s manuscript.

Even so my research got really focused when I was working on The Martlet. So much so that my husband said it was creepy to come in our apartment and find Cause of Death : A Writer’s Guide to Death, Murder and Forensic Medicine on the the bathroom counter and On Killing and Poisons (Howdunit Series) on the kitchen table. Now there is a shelf full of books about killing, poisons, and early medical research.

 So that’s my favorite part of being an author: freaking my husband out with strange facts that I have learned.

What is your favorite genre to read?


Here is an unrelated but adorable picture of Tycho.

People who follow my blog probably have guessed how much I enjoy Epic Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror books. I also sometimes get in the mood for a good mystery.

Today, I am asking you what you favorite genre is/are. Let me know either on the Poll or via the comments!


Michael Cargill’s Jake has come out. Check it out!

While I originally just reblogged his post, I got a few weird comments…so anyway here is the info: I was excited to find out that his newest novel is Jake is now available and free for his reviewers and followers. I loved Cargill’s thriller Underneath. I reviewed it here last year.

Kindlers can download it directly from Amazon US and Amazon UK, whilst owners of Nooks and the like can download the epub/PDF/Sony version from Smashwords

If you’re willing to write a short review of the book on somewhere like Amazon, Facebook, Goodreads, or your blog then you can grab yourself a free copy from Smashwords using this code – JU97J

Of course if you are lazy like me you will just buy it and review it! Damn you 1 click for being so easy plus I am glad to support another independent author.

Here is the synopsis:

Jealousy, lust, and teenage insecurities are the lifeblood of any large school.

Loneliness can strike without warning, spreading through the cramped corridors like an epidemic.

Out on the playground, rivalries are formed from the pettiest of incidents.

Some people look at Jake in awe, others look at him with hatred.

Jake is just an ordinary boy who wants to be liked.

Jake wants to know why the girls never seem to notice him.

Jake is… well, he’s Jake.


2013: #ECCC Confessions from Booth 1006

Okay I started this on Facebook, but then realized this was really a blog post. So some of these are repeats from this morning. These are things I actually said over the course of this weekend and thoughts going on in my head.

2013: #ECCC Confessions from Booth 1006: Exhibiting as Elizabeth Guizzetti

Maria and I in the booth!

Maria and I in the booth!

How does it feel to be a woman in a man’s field?

In my head: huh? Man’s field? What do you think this is 1950?

Spoken answers:

  • When I started Faminelands six years ago, I didn’t know comics were a “male-dominated” industry. I just thought it would be fun to try to write a graphic novel. I have been doing indie comics and when I look around, I see plenty of other ladies. So I didn’t really break the “rules” as much as no one told me I could or couldn’t do what I do. More and more women write books all the time.
  • I have never been discriminated against as a woman–or if I have– I was simply too dense to notice. Sometimes being thick is good. 😉
  • I did not know Other Systems was hard scifi when I wrote it. I did not know I was breaking into a man’s genre. I didn’t even consider my audience. I wrote a book I liked and listened to when and where Dennis groaned when he watched StarTrek.


HERE IS MORE TRUTH. Not a single thing has to do with me being a woman. I want to be considered a great author, not a great “woman author.” My reproductive organs have nothing to do with writing! Here is some stuff that matters:

  • I spent six months researching the gold rush to make Lure as real as possible. 
  •  I am a good dog-mom/alpha-dog/whatever to Rosie and Tycho so they continually feed me inspiration for Out for Souls&Cookies.
  • I wrote three graphic novels in the Faminelands Universe in a way that made me feel I never ruined the story.
  • I am damn (a stronger 4-letter word is more appropriate, but don’t want to embarrass my folks) proud that my worst reviews of Other Systems is there is too much science, exploring and not enough romance. I spent three months researching scientific theory alone, so of course there was a lot of science! Come on people! 

When is the sequel to Other Systems etc?

  • I am working on one now.

But when?

  • I don’t just push out books to get them out on the market. Sorry, you have to wait, but good sequels take time. Don’t worry, I always announce my sequels early.

A follow up to #5: Do you want to know how to make [Insert title] better?


In my head: Oh my god, did they see Malak’s jacket on page 41 in Mareton’s Curse? It was not rendered with as much care as every other piece of an image and if that wasn’t bad enough, the crappy looking coat makes his head looks pasted on!!! NOOOOOO!

  • No thank you, once a book is out, it is what it is. No one is more critical than I am, but I know better than to keep obsessing over it.

How is it to work with your bff?

  • I love Maria, but we do sometimes disagree. That is a fact in any friendship, but how do we stay friends? We have had a business contract since the beginning of all of this.

Why did you write Faminelands?

  • Because I like elves. I admit it. Now that the trilogy is complete, I am working on The Martlet for the same reason.

Hey There…

  • No, you can’t buy me a drink later, I am married.

Follow up to Question 8: then where is your ring?

  • See this tattoo? (On my ring finger on my left hand.)


Where is your husband?  (Actually this year he had the flu, but this question is asked every year and even if he wasn’t sick, it is not Dennis’ job to man the booth.)

  • Well it’s [insert day] so he’s probably home playing computer games, but he might have gone to a movie or something. Dennis does not have to hang out in my booth for me to know he loves me. I don’t hang out in his office. What you think that’s different? You are wrong, because this is my job. And no, you still can’t buy me that drink.

I want to do indie comics or write books or…. ?

Most days I say: Well it’s hard work but I love it. I write or draw every day and by the end of the year I have a novel. I love the work. 🙂

It’s the truth, but somedays I wish I could say to an attendee: Look, I work 40-60 hour work weeks with very little financial reward. But to me it’s not about the money. Sure I would love to have the money. I would build a big pool of gold like Scrooge McDuck and swim in it. However I think writing and drawing comics and novels are worth it even if I don’t ever have a commercial hit. I’m not even trying to have a commercial success in the way most people consider it.

Seriously if I wanted money, I would write porn–oh sorry I mean “erotica” or go back to painting baby room murals. That’s where the money is, however, that is not who I am. I write stories that my mother will not be ashamed to show her friends, I can be proud of that I paste my name all over it and hopefully makes the reader see beyond themselves. I love to do the research, I love to stretch my skills and to see myself getting better and better every year. That’s my reward. IF and ONLY IF that reward will be enough, then stop making excuses and get off your sorry butt and get to work…. 

But if I ever said that I think Maria would kill me or at least push me out of the booth and tell me to go buy us cookies.

Blog Hop! The Next Big Thing: The Martlet

We are taking a break today from the Faminelands talk so I can be part of this Blog Hop! First I want to thank the talented author Dan Thompson for nominating me to  be part of this blog hop. His next project, The Caseworker’s Memoirs, will be released in late Spring 2013, but his feature length YA Fantasy novel, The Black Petal, has no release date as of yet. Check out his post about The Next Big Thing: The Black Petal.

What is the working title of your next book?

My very next release is a graphic novel entitled Faminelands #3: Mareton’s Curse which comes out in ten days at Emerald City Comic Con, but I am going to focus on The Martlet because it is my next written novel.

Where did the idea for your book come from?

First of all, I love epic fantasy and horror, especially vampires, elves, and other mystical long-lived beings. One day, I thought about what if a being with a life span of a 1000 years might decide that it is just not enough time. And I came up with a character than was supposed to be in Faminelands an elvish nobleman who turned into a vampire. But he never fit. So I had to cut him and consider I would write about him another time. This character became Lord Roark.

Character Sketch of Lord Roark

Character Sketch of Lord Roark

Then I began thinking, what if the spirit is eternal, but the Universe is random. Though most inhabitants of the Universe believe otherwise, the prior life has no bearing on Resurrection. It is chance in this Universe. Your spirit might go to any one of twelve diminsions which are referred to as The Realms. Roark decides he likes being a Fairsinge nobleman, so he does not want to Resurrect.

Then Roark’s story began to develop into Kian’s story. Kian is Roark’s consort. I did know it would be a homosexual relationship, but I felt that Kian was a good counterpart to Roark. Kian and Roark love each other, so much that they would never be parted, not by death.

Them the book began to shift as the other characters came into view…Mira and Eohan. Mira is Roark’s neice and someone he can teach and love as a parent loves a child. Eohan was a colleague and Kian’s protector first and the men became friends after Roark named Kian his consort.

Then I knew it wasn’t just this one insane guy, there was four people. Four people can make anything seem almost normal…

Lady Mira as a grown woman. 

What genre does your book fall under?

I consider this epic fantasy, but there is some horror and science fiction involved.

Who would play your characters in a film?

Hugh Jackman would play Eohan. His looks are similar to how I imagined him and how he played Wolverine and his relationship with Rouge is similar to how Eohan looks at Mira during her adolescence. He is her weapons master, yet even when tasked to be a “parent”, he is still a friend.

Now the rest of the actors would have to dye their hair in tones of auburn, but Ryan Reynolds can play someone who cracks jokes while killing vampires so I think he could play Roark who cracks wise while Kian experiments on the corpses. He too can joke around with a child in the dangerous scene as he did in Blade 3.

Kian is a hardest role to fulfill because young actors are generally pretty and who ever would play him would be losing a lot of weight. Maybe Zac Efron.

For Mira we would need at least two actresses, maybe three. (She begins the novel as an infant, five year old, a prepubescent child of eleven/twelve, and then a young woman between 18-23) Emma Rigby would be a good choice as the young woman. She definitely has the look. My mom mentioned Jennifer Lawrence.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

The Martlet is an epic tale of friendship and betrayal about four assassins who play with necromancy on the side.

Will your next book be self-published or represented by an agent?

Choice C: Neither. I don’t have an agent, but I would like it to be traditionally published. I have sent it to 48Fourteen as they published Other Systems. It has not been accepted as of yet.

How long did it take to write the first draft of your manuscript?

1 month. All first my drafts take 1 -2 months, but they are in horrible shape. My entire process takes seven to nine months before I send it out to a publisher.

What other books would you compare this story to in the genre?

RA Salvatore’s The Sellswords Series: Servant of the Shard, Promise of the Witch King and The Road of the Patriarch follow the wily drow mercenary Jaxele.

Andrazej Sapkowski’s Witcher Series deals with some of the same issues, but in a completely different way.

Stan Nicholls’ Orcs books and and have about the same level of violence and humor.

Though it is horror novel: Anne Rice’s  Interview with a Vampire shows the immorality of their lifestyle pretty well.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Aistiu_spaceIt wasn’t a who or a what. It was a when. As I said, I had this idea for awhile. However I wrote The Martlet after I finished Other Systems and had a rough draft of Other Systems #2. Other Systems is a cerebral adventure. Abby and the crew of the Revelation is simply a survey team, not warriors. They don’t get into battles. (Readers may remember the crew runs from danger more than once.) In Other Systems #2, Ellie uses her mind to keep her from getting in trouble. Also Other Systems really deals with “good but flawed people.”

So I wanted to write a book that was a swashbuckling adventure with a quest to defeat death. The main characters kill people and steal bodies. They drink blood in order to stay young. Avarice defines them.

I wanted to see if I could write evil characters that people loved as much as they loved the characters in Other Systems. It would be challenge and I love to stretch my skills with a challenge.

So to make characters that people might want to read about, they need to be more than just cold blooded killers. The quality that they share with the readers is love: romantic, filial, and fraternal. The other attribute Roark and Mira share is a sense of duty to their family. Roark is the third born and in noble Fairsinge society the third born generally vows to live by valor to improve the reputation of their Plas (House) with deeds of service and gallantry. And since Roark’s morals are off, that is how he sees himself. He believes if he defeats death his Plas will be safe forever.

The story begins with one of Roark’s experiment gone awry. Wanting to see if it is possible, Roark, Kian and Eohan to direct a soul into the body of his elder sister’s new baby.  Orla wants to keep the baby, but her husband who has no interest in eternal life, thinks the child should be drowned in the Expanse. In a moment of sentiment, Roark suggests that he raise the child to be a Martlet to take the place of the third born son that Orla lost in battle. He does not give Orla or her husband time to argue. He takes the newborn with him and demands yearly child support payments for her upkeep.

Roark, Kian and Eohan might be evil, but they are not sadists. They are not abusive to her or anyone else–because that wouldn’t be fun to write. They dote upon her. They make it clear she must become a Martlet in order to have a place in her family. If she does not, her mother’s husband will probably kill her. This is a real threat to her well being. Mira is going through puberty before she ever steps in her Plas to take her vow as a Martlet. He believes she should join the Guild as he did and become an assassin so she can live a better life than a poor knight errant scraping by on the pitiful allowance they receive as Martlets. However Mira has seventy-five years of warrior/assassin training before her uncle allows her to do a job without himself or Eohan beside her.

The reader understands Mira’s want of love from her mother and her devotion to the uncle who raised her. And most importantly they will see why when Roark dishonored by the Guild and Eohan is turned into a zombie, Kian finds the knowledge in order for Mira can save them. They are a family unit.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

The Martlet has so many things that personally I think are fun: assassins, big ships crossing the Expanse, pirates, slavery, misdirection, zombies, helpful demons, elves, uncaring universe, true love and dimensional physics.

Check out The Martlet Webpage and/or LIKE The Martlet Facebook Page for updates!

Now for the next participant in the Blog Hop, I’m going to nominate Author, Candace Knoebel! Her award winning debut novel, Born in Flames, has had wonderful reviews and Book 2 in the Series in on its way. Check out her blog next!born-in-flames-final

Creating Talamh: Mor

I knew there was a city in the South where Orin lived and worked and the Daoine Village in the North where Lark lived. Ultimately most of Orin’s time is spent in bars, taverns and brothels so here is the first image of Mor that people can see in The Carp’s Eye.


This is how I described Mor  in my author’s notes.

“Mor is an ancient city of great wealth, goodness and evil.  For it is home of the High Princess Inis the beloved ruler of Nemisalla just as it is the base of the Ciarog Crua. 

The respectable merchants despised Lord Malak who robed himself in white in order to serve darkness. However he was still Lord Malak, the Uncle and Regent of High Princess Inis and they paid him tribute.  Just as he was the power behind the throne, it was whispered the Lord Malak was also the true power behind the Ciarog Crua, but no one could be sure. 

The city was built at least twenty thousand years prior upon the cliffs which rise up between two rivers Iascach and the An Loai. Its large fortified castle sits amid some of the finest stone buildings and cobbled streets in all of Talamh, however as the city fanned towards the South, the buildings quickly became little more then shanties and over crowed tenements.

In her wanderings, Lark discovered the entryway into the barracks for the Crua’s men, but she knew she could not enter that realm unescorted.  The shanties around the entryway were filled with unskilled humans and elves who lived in poverty. These people were no better then cattle. Flies buzzed around the filth just left in the dry dirt streets.  They ran low level errands and messages for the higher ranking men in the Crua hoping that the pay would elevate them enough to escape their current position.  Of course they never did.   

Still Lark heard rumors. It was rumored that when the Enforcer Ulthaene questioned someone, even before they answered, he knew their sins. He especially hated the men who hurt whores and ragged children who hung around the grotto scavenging for food. As Lark circled Mor, she found which establishments that the Crua frequented.  Many were nothing, but cob shacks. Dusk was falling rapidly and Lark can see lights dotting the hillside where the Crua houses their men.

She found a tavern that a man as Ulthaene would patron: the Rat and the Snake.  Made from stone and cob with wood beams and balcony on the second floor, it was slightly nicer then the others, but the kind of place an indentured man could afford.

As she moved closer, she noticed the cob was cracked around all the heavy wooden beams and stained with mildew.  She heard the din of fighting and smelled the cheap beer and wine. Down an alley, she saw a man who held a woman pressed against a wall as he thrust in and out of her.  The man was blond so Lark did not tarry.

Lark looked towards the open entry way of the Rat and the Snake. Before she stepped into the tavern, she quickly prayed for protection and that her hunch was right.

It was crowded. Mostly men drinking and gambling, but a few women moved among them freely.  She scanned the crowd.  There were many different types of folk:  Dwarves, Humans, Elves, Goblins, Trolls, and a few Giants who were forced to duck under the low crossbeams.  The Crua employed them all. In the far corner, she saw a brown haired elfin man looking down at his mead.  He was wearing an old dark cloak and a heavy boiled leather breastplate.  He was alone in his thoughts and did not seem to notice the young woman picking his pocket.  Lark realized it was more likely that he simply did not care.

Not a single line creased his countenance, but his eyes showed the harshness of his existence.  He had fought for both evil and good.   He no longer knew the difference only that the stories of gallant warriors defending their people were no longer true.  He also considered that his last copper went to pay for the mead he was drinking, but that night he would make ten gold as he would be paid to cut the flesh of an evil man.”

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