Ithanes

Not too long ago, I showed a picture from my sketchbook of the main character of my Sacred Knight series, Steigan.

A few nights ago I was flipping through my sketchbook again and came across a picture that reminds me of Ithanes. Ah, Ithanes!

He doesn’t come into the story until book 2, Manifest the Magic, but he was so full of surprises for me. I’ve come to utterly adore him. He’s like the king of snark, and very powerful with his magic. He knows what he’s good at, and lets people follow their strengths. He’s a good leader in that he finds people to compensate for the areas where he is weak. I think that’s why he likes Steigan so much. Yet, he also doesn’t often show weakness in himself. He’s lord of two lands, Dubinshire and Gohaldinest, and he lets everyone know it. Don’t let him fool you, though. He does have his deep, dark secrets.

And speaking of which, I so want to look through that curio cabinet he keeps locked in his chambers. In book 3, To Birth a Destiny, the reader gets to see that curio a couple of times and Steigan even describes some of what he saw. But let me tell you, I was right there when Steigan was discussing what he was seeing and he certainly didn’t get to some of the more interesting items toward the back. Some day I’d like to draw that cabinet and all the trinkets in there. I’d also love to sit down and talk to Ithanes about how he collected all of them. Oh, the stories!

This sketch was done in 2018. I do think if I’d intended it to be Ithanes, it should have had a teardrop-shaped gemstone hanging from the circlet. Maybe I just needed practice drawing a circlet, even a wiry one. (grin)

Maybe someday I’ll get around to doing an illustrated Sacred Knight edition, or maybe even a graphic novel. Someday.

The Strange Little Character

I’ve been preparing Tangled Magic for publication and I started thinking that I should add a map and a character list like I’ve done for my Sacred Knight series.

Now, keep in mind that I had this thought while I was actually working on a scene for Walk the Path, sequel to Tangled Magic, because this is where one of those odd synchronicities take place.

These two things made me start thinking about the character list in Sacred Knight. Did you know that there is actually a character missing from the cast in To Birth a Destiny (book 3) as well as Prince of the Ruined Land (book4)? I have mentioned it a few times and no one has ever come back to me saying that they have found the character.

Okay, yes, it is one character in a lineup of nearly 100. I admit that it’s probably not very obvious.

But here comes Tangled Magic and I have an opportunity to either list this very character (sort of – I’ll explain below) in the cast or not. The situation repeats for Walk the Path. If I really wanted to push it, I get another “chance” to hide this character in the character list for Palladium.

Now the reason I say that it’s the “very character” is because it’s not necessarily the same person. It is the same person in To Birth a Destiny and Prince of the Ruined Land, but in the other books, there’s a possibility that it’s more of a position, like a title.

And I am the one left laughing because I never did give this character an actual name in the Sacred Knight series.

As for the synchronicity, I was writing about this character in Walk the Path when I actually realized what was going on with this character.

Yep, now I’m really launched into my maniacal laughter.

I’m having fun wondering just how long I can “hide” this character. Maybe if I make it all the way to the release of Palladium without someone pointing it out, I’ll set up some kind of prize for finding the missing person.

Until then, I already consider the game afoot. (grin)

He was a traitor

traitor

Even though I haven’t been working on the 5th book very much lately, this series is still “my baby.” I know Steigan’s life from birth to death. I know how his family and friends mourn him. Not all of this is in the books — partially because I have promised that the series here will have a happy ending and because I don’t like stories where the characters die.

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One does not walk

As a Lord of Dubinshire

I am often asked which of my books is my favorite.

Unfair question! (grin)

For starters, it’s akin to asking which of your children is your favorite. Secondly, the excitement is always tied up in the books a writer is currently working on, not the ones that are published. Once I’m satisfied with an adventure and its released, I’m moving on to the next one. Now, since I usually write 3-5 different stories at a time, yes, I do have a favorite at that point — it’s always the one being the easiest to write!

However, when pressed for an answer, at this moment in time, my favorite is To Birth a Destiny. Granted, one has to read the first 2 book in the series to get there, but it is the book I love. 

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Free Fiction Day: Dragons of Wellsdeep – Chapter 1

Are you ready to fall in love with Moonhunter?

I’m just saying — he’s infectious.

Much like with Onesong, you are getting a raw story. It is not yet complete, so I’m certain things will get added or taken out later. Parts may not always make sense. But, we had so much fun when I did this with Onesong that I thought I’d give this one a roll too.

Please like and share the story with all your friends. It’s more fun to read these chapters together. As long as everyone keeps enjoying the story, I’ll do my best to post chapters. (I will trust the process though, just like I did in Onesong.)

UPDATE: This chapter will remain up as a sample chapter for the book. It will not go away. 

Let’s get to it, shall we?

Dragons of Wellsdeep cover small

Dragons of Wellsdeep

Chapter 1

by Dawn Blair

Her time of merely watching drew to a close. Soon, she’d take the child.

The little boy headed to the well. She watched him in the reflection of the water’s surface, a waving mirage with the blue sky behind him. He stomped his feet as he walked, pounding on the earth like a heartbeat. She felt his restrained temper tantrum mixing with her own pulse in a growing, synchronized cacophony with his irritation.

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Heading Out

The energy must give you permission

I heard several profound things at Anime Oasis in Boise, Idaho, last week.

One panel I attended was on cosplay characterization. Now, cosplay is not something I do though my son loves to dress up in costume (also different than true cosplay where you not only look like the character but act as them too). I thought it might be interesting to see different people’s takes on getting into character. It might provide me insight into designing my own characters.

I wasn’t disappointed.

There were several things that I “knew” in the back of my mind, but that I hadn’t ever really put into practice. A lot of that comes from writing about heroic characters, I’m sure.

Now the actor who cosplays as Jack Sparrow was on the panel, answering questions as Jack Sparrow. He has attended several cons as Jack and does not break character, except for maybe when he actually met Johnny Depp. For the panel, they had a stretch of ten minutes or so where the actor removed his Jack Sparrow wig and answered questions as himself.

He said probably the most profound things I’d heard at the convention.

He asked the audience how many people liked to cosplay because they believed they were the character. Not only did no one want to respond, but everyone kind of looked around as if not sure if he’d lost his marbles.

I whispered to my son, “Does it count if we’re writing, not cosplaying?”

Then “Jack” announced that a character was not a person, but rather an idea. While I could see where he was going with this, it was also something I felt. He continued to say that you needed to have permission to access the energy of that idea.

I wonder if anyone felt as in agreement with that thought than me. I wonder how many people thought that cosplay was nothing but dressing up and pretending.

I have spoken about how my stories have an energy to them, a life of their own, and I’ve probably even mentioned it for my characters. Even Elizabeth Gilbert in Big Magic mentions how she didn’t listen to one story and it went to another writer. But the idea that you have to have permission from the energy to gain access to the idea really made me stop and think.

Does some permission come easier than others?

Loki’s novellas are very easy for me to tell, but yes, he came to me and started talking to me. I was receptive and he kept going. Believe me when I say that I’m not trying to think things up with his novellas; I’m always in too much of a hurry to get things down. He talks, I transcribe. But his energy is not always available to me. I feel it when he withdraws and when he wants me to focus on his story.

All of Sacred Knight and Onesong have been huge stories which feel bigger than me sometimes. I know I have to just keep treading with one foot in front of the other and not think about the whole picture. Yet, I also remember a time when I didn’t have permission to tell this story. It took years for me to get back to it.

Dragons of Wellsdeep is another that I don’t always have permission to write. As is Stonecharmer — in fact, it was only earlier today that I felt like getting back to it. Am I now ready to access another part of the story. Did something happen in my life which unlocked something I need for the story. Is it an odd sort of gamification that goes on? Did I earn a trophy that lets me pass to the next level?

But not only can I see it so clearly with my writing, but with my painting as well. As I’ve been thinking of this concept over the week of having to have permission to access the energy, I recalled writing at one point that I hadn’t really painted a whole lot since my mother’s death. I literally had a series of paintings that downloaded to my brain that day. I have not been able to paint them up. And since then, I’ve hardly painted. I feel as if I did have permission to see these scenes, given to me at a very trying moment, and I rejected them. Is it possible that the energy as a whole revoked it’s permission toward my painting?

Could this be the same reason I couldn’t write for several years (as I mentioned above)?

Yes, I can see it.

I remember feeling so distraught and lonely when I couldn’t write. It hurt. A friend told me I needed to grieve and I did. Once I felt myself healing from that, my writing came back. This wasn’t overnight, none of it. It was a long road.

I would like to avoid taking that long path with my painting. I do want to paint, as much as I wanted to write when I literally couldn’t. Yes, this feels similar. But now I know that I need to respect the energy and have it’s permission.

I don’t what this means, either for the short term or the long term, only that I do have a new respect for the artistic process both as a writer and a painter. Stay tuned. I’m sure there will be more to come.

I Feel What You Feel

It’s so easy to forget all the things you’ve written. Just last week, I ran into a friend who said, “I loved that story about the slave girl.” Slave girl? “You know, the slave girl who posed.”

I was still stuck at, “I wrote a story about a slave girl?”

I have a vague inkling of that story, but it still doesn’t want to come back. Someday, I’ll have to go digging through some of my boxes of old stories.

Recently, I was going through some files and pulling out stories. No, the slave girl story was not in there, otherwise I would have known exactly what story my friend was talking about. What surprised me was the number of stories that I had but I didn’t remember until I started reading them. It was like visiting Wonderland.History of a Dead Man

Just the other day, I was thinking about History of a Dead Man, the companion novella for the Sacred Knight series. I recalled that I wrote a note from the author in the beginning and I got curious about what I had written. So I went to read it. Not only did I do this introduction, but I had written a section on notes about the story and the series in general. I had completely forgotten about it. In reading it, I found tears coming to my eyes. It took me right back to what I was feeling in that moment when I had originally wrote those words. It’s in that moment that time really becomes incredible. To get transported backwards in that flash… ah, yes, time is not quite as linear as we all believe it to be.

 

It’s also amazing to note, for as long as I’ve been working on my Sacred Knight story, I still love my character. Steigan and I have walked quite a distance together. I often feel like Mr. Spock, “I feel what you feel… I know what you know….” I literally have to remind myself (sometimes) that he’s not real. Figment of my imagination or not, Steigan has influenced my life in profound ways. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had an issue in my life and I’ve stopped myself to think, “What would Steigan do?” I always have my answer.

I’ve rattled on enough about Steigan for now. But do stay tuned for Monday, when I share an interview I did about Steigan’s world.

And, if you’re interested in more about those short stories I unearthed, please sign up for my newsletter. Some of those stories are a few of the things I’ll be sharing with readers of my newsletter. You don’t want to miss out. Sign up using the button in the right column near the top.

I might even at some point share my never before seen fan-fiction (hint: Doctor Who and Star Trek!)

Animation Project

Animation Character Dawn Blair ©2014
Animation Character
Dawn Blair ©2014

I have an animation project I’ve been thinking about for quite some time now and I’ve decided that I’m going to put focus on it this year. After all, you have to Show Up! right? There will be lots more coming on this project, but I thought I’d show off what I have started. Designing a character from scratch is a lot more difficult than it looks. Fortunately, the animation is easier. 🙂

To Birth A Destiny – Keteria’s video

Excitement is me! This, the third book in the Sacred Knight series, is a part of the story I’ve been thinking about for years. Originally, most of it was all backstory. But as the story kept growing and revealing to me what it wanted to be, the more I realized I was actually going to have to plan it all and write it. I couldn’t just leave it as something that happened “way back when.” It is so much of the reason the world is the way it is in the first book in the series (The Three Books). This is the book that becomes the “meat of the story.”

I am so glad I finally get to show it to readers.

Here’s a sneak peek for you. To Birth A Destiny promo video from Queen Keteria’s point of view. Even if you haven’t read the books, there aren’t any real spoilers in this video. If you like this video, please check out the other videos in the series.

What do you stand for?

“It’s not what you sell, it’s what you stand for.” — from an article interviewing Roy Spence and Haley Rushing.

Recently I read an article about how DC wanted to take Superman and make him “darker” like how Batman was transformed into the “Dark Knight.” They wanted to do away with Superman’s boy scout in blue image. Strangely enough, I came across the lead quotation on the same day. I just have to ask if DC is trying to stand for the darker, more evil side, of humanity? Hmmm….

Now, I know everyone has a side of them where temptation reigns. But it is always our choice of which shoulder to choose: the red devil or the white angel. The question did inspire me to ask myself why I didn’t want to lose the boy scout in blue. Here’s my answer:

I believe people like consistency. We all know we waiver too much. We want our heroes to be heroes and our villains to be villains. We want to see the outside world with that clear black and white even though we know there are so many shades of gray. Buffy was always Buffy. She slayed vampires. We could count on her to defeat the evil and stay righteous. Angel on the other hand went “evil” as did Willow. Surrounding characters — never the heroine. Harry Potter, even though touched by Voldemort, always fought to keep himself on the good side. We wanted him to stay true.

So it made me think about Steigan — my own boy scout in blue from my Sacred Knight series. I always did want him to walk on the evil side, but now I’ve taken a fresh look at this. If I want the story to work, he can’t go all dark and evil. Brooding, maybe. Even more, I realized that I didn’t want the story to be about his journey to the dark side and back again. It’s not what I stand for. I want my Sacred Knight series to represent courage in the face of adversity. So, if DC is willing to drop Superman’s image and let it walk through the mud, I’m glad to pick up the boy scout in blue gauntlet and run with it!

Comic book cover for the 1st edition
Sacred Knight — first comic book cover
©2007 Dawn Blair
You can still get your copy from Morning Sky Studios.

What character would you hate to see changed?