If You’re an Anime Fan…

I know that not all of you are anime fans, and also that the current epidemic is putting a bit of a crimp on some people’s funds, but I’m going to plug this anyway…

The New Anime Making System Project/2020 is a project to, uh, make a new system for anime production. It’s on Kickstarter and it has, in fact, reached its funding goal, but if you can spare some money and want to see better quality anime produced in the future, maybe you can register your support, so to speak. There are six days left on the campaign, and pledges start at about $5, so check it out.

The backstory: anime production is plagued by low wages and long hours. A significant proportion of young artists entering the profession don’t last three years before burning out. Typical wages for starting animators in the industry won’t pay for a one-bedroom apartment in Tokyo, never mind minor details like food. The project aims to build a studio over the next three years which focuses on producing quality animation while paying reasonable wages. And their video says it better than I can.

Okay, plug over with, back to writing The Empress’s Mage. 94,000 words and I’m nowhere near finished. Why do fantasies always end up so large? I blame LotR.

And, you know, check out that Kickstarter if you can spare the time and money.

King Solamet’s Mines

King Solamet’s Mines is (finally) available. This one is not long and I’ve decided to charge $2.99 for it because of that. I’ll make up for it with The Empress’ Mage which is going to be much longer.

Explosions!

I bet you’re thinking this is a Konosuba reference (or you are if you’re into anime), but no…

It’s Bonfire Night in the UK and I’m watching The Saga of Tanya the Evil. Why? Because the sound of the explosions on screen is almost drowning out the sound of the explosions outside. Seriously, I was watching something earlier and I could barely hear the TV for the detonations outside. Good thing it was subtitled.

For those unfamiliar with Tanya (Gekijōban Yōjo Senki in Japanese and commonly rendered as Yojo Senki in English), it’s an isekai with an interesting twist. A rather unpleasant salaryman is murdered by someone he just fired and, for reasons, is reincarnated as a small blonde girl in what amounts to Imperial Germany. The world has magic, Tanya has a high magical potential, and she volunteers for the military at nine before they can draft her. Her country is in an extended war with neighbouring countries and she hopes to get rapidly promoted to a desk job where she can relax and live out her life in relative peace. Well, obviously, not going to happen.

The twist with Tanya is that the protagonist is not a nice person. I wouldn’t actually characterise her as evil, but she is self-centred, manipulative, and willing to sacrifice anyone to get to her ultimate goal, so long as such sacrifice doesn’t reflect badly on her. She won’t tolerate anyone in her command being injured or dying, but that’s because it would hinder her promotion. She recommends one of her soldiers for officer training behind the lines, but she does so because it makes her look like a caring superior.

Tanya is epitomised by a comment from one of the command staff officers who describes her as ‘a complete and utter monster in the form of a little girl.’ He later revises this, describing her as a devil. And by that point, that’s more or less meant as a compliment.

I’d recommend this one to anyone who hasn’t seen it. I own the first series on Blue-Ray, despite the fact that I can stream it on Crunchyroll whenever I want. The fight sequences are amazing and the story has some glorious takes on theology. It’s also funny, in between portraying war as something you wouldn’t want to be involved in. And the music is fantastic.

Happy Halloween!

It’s Ceri’s birthday today, so here’s a little something to celebrate.

They’ll be having the usual party. So…

(Apparently, they’ve been having some refitting done on High Towers while I wasn’t looking, hence the new staircase in the front hall.)

Thaumatology Updates

As I indicated a short while ago, I’m endeavoring to get all the Thaumatology books updated across Amazon and Smashwords. I had them worked over by my proofreader a long time ago but kept them back due to a need to get something else done for the Smashwords release. I’ve decided to just update the texts so everyone can have nice, clean, error-free prose, even if some catalogues won’t currently list some of the titles (long story).

I’m doing three a day (because I want to get some writing done as well) and the first three are now up. That’s:

  • Thaumatology 101
  • Demon’s Moon
  • Legacy (plus the Black Moonlight short story)

Now then, Legacy was updated on Amazon a short while back, but I neglected to add in Black Moonlight at the time. That has now been fixed (or it will be when Amazon have got their end of things together). If you’re interested, you may wish to look for an update to that book on Amazon.

I’ll be updating this list through the week as I upload more updates.

The updated Legacy text is now up on Amazon too.

Current List (18th October):

  • Thaumatology 101
  • Demon’s Moon
  • Legacy
  • Dragon’s Blood
  • Disturbia
  • Hammer of Witches
  • Eagle’s Shadow
  • Ancient
  • Dragonfall
  • The Other Side of Hell
  • For Whom the Wedding Bells Toll
  • Vengeance

I’ll take care of the anthologies at some later date, so that’s all for now.

Indecision

The last few months have been interesting. King Solamet’s Mines is in the editing pipeline for release next month, but it was a bit of a struggle. Why? because I keep having new ideas!

In the past month or so I’ve come up with:

  • The Demon Generation: What happens when people start exhibiting supernatural abilities and changing into monsters without warning.
  • Something I just called ‘Elven Knight’: A portal opens in Central Park, NY, bringing various creatures out of fairy tales with it. Something dangerous has come through and a knight from the other world is sent to bring it back with the help of an NY detective. Fish-out-of-water stuff.
  • UNO: Ultimate Necromance Online: A sort of LitRPG/isekai story where the twist is that our hero is a guy who gets transported into a sort of fantasy game world, but on his secondary character who is female.
  • Renae Clifton: Supernatural detective story set in Manchester, England.
  • Bullet Dance: A weird western story.
  • And I shouldn’t leave out Sign of the Dragon which is to still ongoing, but has had some radical rethinking.

They all got a little development and thought. I even wrote a few pages of The Demon Generation and I restarted Sign of the Dragon. But I’m not quite in a cyberpunk mood right now. That will change in mid-November, however, because Cyberpunk 2077 is coming out and I’ll be playing it on a nice, new XBox Series X. If I can drag myself away from the controller, I should be in a strong mood to write sci-fi.

So, right now I’m doing something different. It’s a one-off fantasy which is something of an experiment. I wanted to see if I could do a slowish burn story set in a world with a highly stratified class system. so far, so good.

I blame YouTube reviewers. There was this anime series that got some pretty rave reviews for its world building and relative plot complexity: Ascendance of a Bookworm. It’s a rather unusual isekai. A Japanese girl who loves nothing aside from books is killed when an earthquake topples a badly piled stack of books on her and she wakes up in the body of a small, frail girl, the daughter of a poor soldier in what, at first, appears to be a straight medieval society. Her beloved books are practically impossible to get since books have to be hand-copied; no printing presses. So, she decides that if she can’t buy books, she’s going to damn well make some. And that’s the plot: how Myne starts changing the world by (re)inventing shampoo, crochet, plant-based paper, woodblock printing… And she has to deal with some fantasy stuff and an exclusionary social system, but it’s really about the books. I’m hooked. I watched it twice in succession (helped by there not being anything else I wanted to watch, I admit). I started the light novel it’s based on.

So, I took a few ideas from that and real medieval society and something I don’t normally do: straight-up, impossible without magic cosmology. Put in brain. Turn on mixer. Pour contents onto page. The Empress’s Mage was born. As I said, it’s designed to be a one-off, but it could get a sequel if a plot comes up that works. As it is, it’ll take a poor girl with a talent for magic to the heights of society, which is a good place to end things. I hope it works out (before November 19th when I go all cyberpunk). If it does, it should see a release date in January. As they say in a strangely large number of anime episode previews, ‘Look forward to it.’

Atlantis Art Dump

Okay, sorry for the delay, but the Age of Atlantis: Return art dump is now available on ArtStation. Click on the image above to go there.

Age of Atlantis: Return

book1-cover1

Age of Atlantis: Return is now available.

I’ll get an art dump done this weekend. It’s going to be a little more adult than usual. The book itself, however, is no more adult than usual.

English Summers Are Awesome

So, last week I was cooking. Today, it’s raining. The rain is coming down at a 45 degree angle. I couldn’t actually say it’s cold, but it has cooled down some. This is summer in England: you never know what you’re going to get.

The Atlantis book is in the final stages of production. Should be out soon. More on exactly when when I know.

Too Hot

It’s too hot.

I realise that, for many of you, having to put up with 28C (82F) in my office is cool, but I live in the UK! We can’t cope with hot weather. Or cold weather. We get temperate weather and we like it!

All I want to do is sleep, but it’s too hot to sleep! Getting work done is hard. Luckily, I got the Atlantis book finished a couple of weeks ago. You should be seeing that early next month. And things are supposed to cool down at the end of this week, so I’m hoping my progress on the next Unobtainium book will pick up then. I’ll go back to struggling to concentrate now.

(This ramble was brought to you by Niall’s overcooked brain.)