Six Sentence Sunday (7/24)

I’m participating in Six Sentence Sunday again this  week. This entry is taken from my urban fantasy novel, IMPERIUM, and comes from a coded transmission being sent to my lead antagonist.

There are three organizations you need to be wary of in Boston. The Strangers, who ensure prophecies come to bear; the Chroniclers, who monitor the time stream; and the Caulborn, who protect the citizens from paranormal and supernatural threats. Of these, the Caulborn will be the most troublesome. They will fight you every step of the way if they discover your intentions. Their agents are gifted with a myriad of supernatural talents; fae familiars, magical weapons, and, in one case, deity-like powers. Extreme caution should be exercised when dealing with them.

If you’d like to read more, you can read the first chapter here. You can also purchase Imperium from Amazon or Smashwords.

Gearstripper’s Origin

Imperium’s been out for a few weeks now and it’s received some great reviews. One thing all the reviews have in common is how much people love Gearstripper, the Caulborn’s resident technical expert. I thought I’d talk a bit about what inspired Gears.

For starters, Gears is a gremlin. A good chunk of the inspiration for Gears came from the novel adaptation of Stephen Spielberg’s movie Gremlins, which I read when I was a kid. Yes, I saw the movie too, but there are things in the book that weren’t in the film. One scene in particular shows one of the town’s residents having a flashback to World War II, when a gremlin sabotaged his plane. He saw the current gremlin infestation as a chance to get back at the gremlins he dealt with during the war. For some reason, that scene stuck with me. When I got older, I saw an old Looney Tunes episode where Bugs Bunny stops a gremlin from crashing Allied planes. This cemented a fact in my mind – gremlins were extremely active in WWII.

As I got older, I researched gremlins a little more. With all the fables, folklore and fairy tales I read, I expected to find gremlins somewhere else. I didn’t. The first time gremlins show up is during WWII. And even then, only Allied pilots saw them. I didn’t find any instances of German or Japanese pilots being plagued by the little buggers. So that got me thinking about why that was, where the gremlins might have come from, and what their true origin might be.

One thing that always bothered me about the way Spielberg portrayed gremlins was how mindlessly chaotic they were. If you’re going to sabotage an airplane, you need cunning, but more importantly, you need smarts. You need to know what wires to cut and when to cut them. Stripe and his crew were plenty cunning, but they were pretty dumb. I wanted my gremlins to be smarter, which is why Gears can invent things that technology companies can’t.

The final piece of Gears came when I was on a bit of a sugar rush from a king-sized Snickers bar, and thought, “Hey, what if this little guy was always eating junk food and living on a perpetual sugar high?”

I rolled all those things together and Gearstripper was the end result. If you’d like to learn more about Gears and my take on the origin of gremlins, check out Imperium, available from Amazon and Smashwords. You can also read the first chapter here.

Scrivener’s Scratch Pad

Quite often  when I’m writing a scene I’ll think of something I need to add to a different scene, or an idea for something later on. I used to keep a pad of paper next to the computer for moments like that, but Scrivener has a built-in scratch pad just for this purpose. To bring up the scratch pad, press Ctrl Shift /. Once you’ve got notes on the scratch pad, they can be copied into other scrivener files. This video shows the scratchpad in action.

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Quick note here – this video was created using Scrivener for Windows. If the shortcut is different on a Mac, please let me know in the comments. Thanks!

Six Sentence Sunday

This week, I’m participating in Six Sentence Sunday. Here are six sentences from my urban fantasy novel, IMPERIUM. To give a bit of context, my narrator is watching as a hostile  army advances on a peaceful people known as the Urisk.

 

Perhaps they thought the Urisk planned to beg for mercy. Perhaps the generals thought the Urisk were praying for some imaginary god to swoop in and save them.

In either case, the generals would be wrong. The Urisk aren’t begging for mercy and they aren’t praying to an imaginary god.

They’re praying to me.

Now pardon me for a moment, I have some swooping and saving to do.

 

If you’d like to read more, you can read the first chapter here. You can buy Imperium from Amazon or Smashwords.

 

 

 

Writing Prompt – Purpose of the Appendix

Gray’s Anatomy is an outstanding reference that every writer should own. When you’re regularly stabbing, shooting or otherwise maiming your characters, it makes your writing more realistic when you understand exactly what’s being damaged, the potential blood loss from such a wound, what muscles would be impaired, and so on. I bought a hardcover copy back when I was in college; it’s three inches thick and weighs about 5 lbs. But I recently found an edition for the iPad that has 3D versions of a lot of the images. This is great because you can rotate a picture of the heart and lungs and see what they look like from all sides.  That’s very handy when you’ve just shot your main character in the chest and need to know where the bullet would have to go to puncture a lung but not pierce the heart. I found a cool image of the intestines too, and that got me thinking about the appendix. The appendix is a completely useless organ that can cause a ton of trouble if it gets inflamed, but that’s about it. From what I’ve read, scientists agree that the appendix did something at one point, no one quite knows what that something was.

So let’s make something up. Write a story where the appendix’s purpose is explained. You can be benevolent (it’s an organ that generates luck or positive energy) or malicious (it’s a self-destruct button that can be triggered by hostile aliens).

Have fun, and happy writing!

Local Legend: The Dover Demon

When people think about the supernatural in New England, the Salem Witch trials and haunted houses are usually on the top of their list. (Those, and Stephen King.)  But there are a ton of other legends and oddities in New England that aren’t related to witchcraft. One of those is the Dover Demon.

The story goes that on the night of April 21, 1977, three teen boys were driving along when one of them saw a something sitting on a stone wall. When the car’s headlights hit the creature’s eyes, they glowed bright orange. At first, the driver thought the creature was a cat or a dog, but then it turned toward him. He saw that the creature had an egg-shaped head, and long, spindly arms and fingers. It had no hair, and no nose, mouth or ears from what the driver could see.

Around midnight that same evening, the creature was seen by another pair of boys walking home. Their description matches that of the boys in the car, and they said that the creature ran on two legs and fled into the nearby woods. They followed the creature, and found it standing with its fingers wrapped around a tree and its toes curled around a rock. One of the witnesses said that the creature stared at him with faintly glowing eyes and he had the impression that it was thinking to itself, or perhaps preparing to spring. They fled the woods in a panic.

The next night, the creature was seen by a teen boy and girl who were driving home. The girl claims she saw a creature like the one the boys described, perched on the side of the road. The only discrepancy here is that the girl claims the creature had glowing green eyes, not orange.

After that third sighting, the creature was never seen again.

All of the teens who saw the creature were asked to draw a picture of what they’d seen. Here’s what one of them came up with:

Dover Demon, courtesy of Wikipedia

Some people say that the teens were playing a prank, and that the Dover Demon is nothing but a hoax. Others say that the teens actually saw a young moose. Experts say that the Dover Demon bears a resemblance to gray aliens or other Native American mythological creatures, but they can’t do more than speculate. The police who took the teens’ statements say that we’ll probably never know what the Dover Demon really was.

But Vincent Corinthos and the Caulborn know. Check out IMPERIUM if you’d like to learn more.

Contest: Spread the Word About Imperium

UPDATE: The contest is now closed. Congratulations to Suzy Turner!

 

Hey there – how’d you like to win a $25 Amazon gift certificate? I’m trying to spread the word about my new urban fantasy novel, Imperium. You can help and maybe win a prize. Here are the rules:

If you tweet about Imperium and this contest, that gets you one entry.

If you blog about Imperium and this contest, that gets you one entry.

If you post about Imperium and this contest somewhere else, that also gets you one entry.

If you purchased Imperium, that gets you 3 entries.

These are cumulative, so you can have up to 6 chances to win a $25 Amazon gift cert.

Just post a link to each item you’re doing in the comments below so I know that you’ve entered. If you’ve purchased Imperium, you can send in a pic of your Kindle with Imperium shown on the home screen (make sure it’s legible), or you can send in your Amazon or Smashwords receipt. Send either of those things to CPG@nicholasolivo.com.

A winner will be drawn on July 12, 2011 at 9 p.m. Eastern time.

Good luck to all and thanks for your help!