villain month: in closing…

Blue Crystal Today is the last day of June… and an end to the ‘Villain Month’ project.

It’s been great being able to see everyone’s project– the last villain month showcase will probably be up tomorrow, with big thanks to everyone who participated! I really needed to go through this project, and I think the extra effort will show in my writing.

Since today is our last project day, I thought I’d post about one last antagonist of a slightly different flavor. Purposefully underdeveloped; these characters show up very rarely and don’t reveal much of themselves when they do.

The Silver Mask

The king’s secret police all have silver masks. The pieces are all handcrafted, intricate, completely unique. Some have the sculpted faces of angels, some are monsters or dead men, some are dragons or tigers, deep sea fish, insect-like beasts. The shape doesn’t matter. They’re all silver masks, and they all mean the same thing.

You will not know who they are. You will not know if someone in the room might be one. They put on their masks in private, and only when they have work to do in the name of their station.

Every time a mask appears in the book, someone dies.

thin skin

So… the day before yesterday, I learned that someone whose art that I admire really didn’t care for my work. She phrased it nicely, and made it clear that she didn’t think it was badly written, but even so… I’ve been a little depressed and haven’t really written since Monday, especially since I’ll be backtracking when I do.

I don’t expect everyone to like Blue Crystal. I set out to write something desperate, realistic, gritty, and violent, and (I admit) I’ve drawn some of my inspiration from George R.R. Martin’s ‘Song of Ice and Fire’ series. I’m expecting some to be repulsed by what I’ve done. I’ve even already gotten that reaction from one reviewer, whom I surmise was shaken by the cannibalism; murder is commonplace in books, while eating the leftover meat because you’re a starving man is taboo.

Even so. Getting a negative reaction from someone you admire… I think perhaps I had hoped that since I admired her for her talents that perhaps she’d reciprocate. Things don’t seem to work that way.

Update: A few hours after posting this, I browsed the internet for fantasy covers that I liked, came up with a decent idea that would look beautiful painted in a classical style, and emailed the artist with my new ideas for a book cover. I feel better now, and I think it’s going to be beautiful.


I try to make my books as accurate as possible. There’s nothing more annoying than trying to take a movie or a tv show seriously that keeps violating physics, or hacking incorrectly, or having dance ‘experts’ that don’t know that the leads right hand does not belong at the girl’s waist. It makes me twitch.

I’m writing at my computer, and I get to a place where one of the characters gets stabbed. … Morbid, perhaps, but… I write dark fantasy and kill characters. It happens. The guy on the receiving end of this deal has thick clothing, but no armor.

So what does that sound like? Before the other guy starts screaming? Does it make a cracking sound? Crunching? Does it slide in silently? I have swords, but it would be such a bother to hunt down the neighbor’s dogs…

(Just a joke. Really.)

And do I want to get too close to the person that can tell me?