Monthly Archives: October 2015

1 Comment

Over on Pinterest, I've been keeping a pin board full of images that inspire and capture the spirit of the Scorched Continent series. With book one, Steal the Sky, coming out January 5th, I plan to explore some of these images here and explain what they mean to the world and the characters which inhabit it.

Firemounts

Mount Bromo, Java by Brian Henry
Mount Bromo, Java by Brian Henry

As the name implies, the Scorched Continent is an inhospitable place.  The continent itself is a about half the size of Australia, and was formed in a similar method to Hawaii - a mantle of the planet's crust has been moving over a geological hotspot/upwelling. The Scorched's hotspot is much, much larger than the one that formed (and continues to form) Hawaii, and the crust is moving slower than it is here on planet Earth, so instead of a chain of islands the hotspot created a landmass of smashed together volcanoes that the locals refer to as firemounts. The crustal plate's primary direction is west with a slight tick toward the south (the hotspot itself is stationary) making the south west area of the continent mostly dormant while the far north east is beset by periodic eruptions.

But rock isn't the only thing being pushed out of the firemounts. Selium gas is dispersed all throughout the crust of the continent, but it's primarily trapped in minuscule amounts within stone. The rock cycle of the firemounts allows the gas to be released, sometimes creating large pockets that well up alongside magma chambers. Intrepid miners have discovered that the safest and most reliable way of capturing the gas is to dig into the periphery of firemount plugs and attach reinforced leather pipes to the holes. Blow outs are common, and the firemounts with the most active selium production capabilities are, of course, also the most active in explode-your-face-off capabilities.

So why bother going through such a dangerous process? In the world of the Scorched, selium is a precious commodity. It has lift capabilities that'd make helium blush, and can be sensed and manipulated by the world's magic users, called sel-sensitives. Its ability to generate lift has given the merchant-minded Valathean empire a fleet of airships capable of dominating in both trade and war.

Below is a snippet from Steal the Sky about the firemounts. In this scene, Detan Honding is looking out from the city of Aransa to the city's accompanying firemount:

Glittering black sands reached across the distance between Aransa and the Fireline Ridge, the firemount they called Smokestack spearing straight up through the center of the ridge, belching soot and ash. The winds were in their favor today, and so the greasy plume drifted off to the desolate south instead of laying a film of grime over all Aransa.

Blasted dangerous place to stick a city.

From this far away, the glint of metal holding leather-skinned pipes to the Smokestack’s back was the only evidence of the firemount’s rich selium production. Dangerous or not, there’d be folk settled here until the sel was gone. Or until the whole damned place blew.

Steal the Sky can be found on AmazonGoodreads, and Barnes & Noble

Click here For more Scorched Saturdays

Today I welcome Hugo and Nebula-nominated Nancy Fulda, aka Sherrida Pope, to the blog. She's got an adorable new chapter book out just in time for Halloween, An Owl Goes Trick-or-Treating, and she's popped by to share a little with us about what her owls drink.


An Owl Goes Trick-or-TreatingThank you, Megan. I’m thrilled to be here!

So, I’m Sherrida Pope. And I’m Nancy Fulda. It’s a long and complicated story, but basically, Nancy Fulda writes hard science fiction and philosophical secondary-world stories for adults, while Sherrida Pope writes happy adventure stories for children. They both live in my head and yes, it gets crowded sometimes.

In any case, my children and my id recently ganged up to convince me to write a Halloween Chapter Book for early readers. It’s about a little owl named Arthur who can’t manage to put together a costume for Halloween. He ends up in all kinds of trouble, mostly due to the ill-mannered boy who lives nearby, but an unexpected friend helps make his dream a reality.

Arthur’s story is short, sweet, and full of cute little illustrations. And it’s really inexpensive in e-book format.

Here’s what the characters like the drink:

Arthur the owl: Arthur likes berry flavors. If someone were to hand him one, he’d probably love a strawberry/banana smoothie from Jamba Juice.

Genevieve the cat: Cream. With a dash of caramel.

Lisa McConway: Orange Fanta? Lisa’s big on anything that comes with sugar or sparklies, and most carbonated drinks would suit her fine.

Donavan McConway: Don is definitely not old enough to drink alcohol, but he’d sure like to try.

William: Ginger ale. Except when he’s drinking hot chocolate with Cool Whip on top.

Thanks again for inviting me over, Megan. For those who would like to meet Arthur, Genevieve, and their humans in more detail, you can find their story in paperback | nook | kindle | itunes and kobo format.

Today I have the pleasure of hosting my Shimmery friend, Cassandra Khaw, to the blog to talk about her new novella, RUPERT WONG, CANNIBAL CHEF. Come on, you know you're going to love it from that title alone! Here she is with the scoop on what Rupert drinks to ease his worries.


cannibal-chefYay! Guest blog! I've never done one of these before. Do I express gratitude by smashing little porcelain cats, or do we make offerings of dragon's blood? No one ever tells me these things. While we figure that out, a huge thank you for letting me on here. My upcoming novella Rupert Wong, Cannibal Chef is an upcoming urban fantasy e-novella about an ex-Triad gang member turned chef for a dynasty of ghouls, and his involvement in some inter-pantheon shenanigans. It obviously doesn’t go too well for him, but I’ll leave it to the story to explain why that’s the case.

Moving on, Rupert’s nowhere near as cool as he might sound. He’s in his late thirties, his back is constantly acting up, and he works two jobs -- one of which involves negotiating demands made by little demon fetuses. As such, he doesn’t have really sophisticated tastes. When Rupert wants to get drunk, he partakes in a Graveyard, a foul-tasting concoction that used to be the cocktail of choice in my college.

Quick story: drinks are phenomenally expensive in Malaysian bars. Like, RM350 to RM400 a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. Similarly, beer could go as high as RM15. When you’re a college student with a highly limited budget, you go for what gets you drunk quickest. Graveyards were RM30, and they were … effective, as you’ll be able to tell from the ingredients list.

The recipe: 
1 - 1/2 package triple sec
stout
1 - 1/2 package Bacardi® 151 rum
1 - 1/2 package vodka
1 - 1/2 package gin
1 - 1/2 package tequila
1 - 1/2 package bourbon whiskey
1 - 1/2 package Scotch whisky
beer

Mix all the spirits together, before you top it off with beer and stout. Prepare to not do anything but be sick for the next week.


It’s not unusual to work two jobs in this day and age, but sorcerer and former triad soldier Rupert Wong’s life is more complicated than most. By day, he makes human hors d’oeuvres for a dynasty of ghouls; by night, he pushes pencils for the Ten Chinese Hells. Of course, it never seems to be enough to buy him a new car—or his restless, flesh-eating-ghost girlfriend passage from the reincarnation cycle—until opportunity comes smashing through his window. 

In Kuala Lumpur, where deities from a handful of major faiths tip-toe around each other and damned souls number in the millions, it’s important to tread carefully. Now the Dragon King of the South wants to throw Rupert right in it. The ocean god’s daughter and her once-mortal husband have been murdered, leaving a single clue: bloodied feathers from the Greek furies. It’s a clue that could start a war between pantheons, and Rupert’s stuck in the middle. Success promises wealth, power and freedom, and failure... doesn’t.

Amazon UK: Link

Amazon US Link