Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The beast that Palla became

I know it's NaNoWriMo and I should be writing, but I spent some time on this painting of one of the 'characters' in my current novel. Can I count it as a thousand words? No?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Flying Toasters - The DeadPixel Tales

My fellow authors and I over at DeadPixel Publications just released our first collection of short stories. It's a great mix if different genres and has a little something for everybody who enjoys reading. Best of all, it's FREE for Kindle until November 5th. Check it out!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fire of Falraan title

I got this idea in my head for a title treatment and it just happened to come together quite fast. Building upon the Vorallon calligraphy I have been messing with. I don't know what I want to do with this yet, but that didn't keep me from drawing it.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Halversome cliffs

My latest illustration project is a scene from the upcomming novel, Fire of Falraan. If I can get this where I am really happy with it, it may become the cover. For right now, I am just exploring the visual.

In this scene, it is a misty dawn and a young Falraan is distraught over the death of her mother. She has run to the edge of the water channel that divides Halversome's north and south halves. In an outpouring of her emotions, she vaporizes the water plume. I have no visual reference for a plume of falling water instantly converting to steam and vapor in the manner of Falraan's gift of fire.

This is a work in progress while I explore the vision in my head. I hope the words I have written of this scene will conjure a unique and vivid image to each reader.

minor update:

Friday, August 23, 2013

Vorallon Calligraphy

In the Fire of Falraan, Iris documents Falraan's stories with a brush on parchment. I thought I would try my hand at duplicating Iris's flair.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Lightgiver is out to beta readers

The first draft of The Lightgiver is 13k words long. This puts it well into novelette range, but still shy of novella size. I set out to write a short story, but the story took the reigns and established its own length.

If my betas find things to cut for the betterment of the story, then cut I shall. I have no trouble murdering my darlings, that part is easy. This is the first pass. I will take what they give me and go over it all again then send that back out for a last pass with a focus on copy editing.

I have not written anything this dark before. I just had the urge to push myself in that direction. To work out my hangups about not killing off characters with whom I have grown attached. This story is the result. It is a tragedy and it is full of deep-seated fears that swirl around the theme of dehumanization. Other than darkness, the story is also about human spirit, magic, and ideas--big ideas.

I don't have a release date yet, somewhere within a month or two it will be available on the kindle and possibly a very slim book through Createspace.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Lightgiver -cover art

This is the cover for my upcoming short story, The Lightgiver. Dark Fantasy/Dystopia

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pronunciation guide for Gifts of Vorallon

I just thought it would be handy to share my pronunciation guide. This is how I hear the unique names and words of Vorallon in my head and how I pronounce them when I read the story out loud. I think, however, that the reader should always choose the pronunciation that the word has already formed in their mind, but for cases where one is just not sure (especially with the dwarven words) this might help.

NAMES (somewhat in order of appearance or mention)

Hethal – HETH-ehl (like Ethel)
Lorn (Lord Lorn) – LAWRN (like born, or the end of forlorn)
Moyan (General Moyan) – MOY-ahn (moy sounds like toy or boy)
Dehmet – deh-MET
Kamunki – kah-MOON-key
Elena – EL-uh-nuh
Ivrane – EVE-rain
Lorace – LORE-ess (like Horace)
Fara – FAIR-ah
Tornin – TORE-nihn
Hurn – HERN (like yearn)
Aran (Lord Aran) – AIR-ahn (very close to Aaron)
Adwa-Ki – add-wuh-KEY
Verth – VIHRTH (like mirth)
Halverth – HAHL-vihrth
Somera – sum-AIR-ah
Thryk – THRIKE (like trike with a lisp and a good rolling R)
Taggi – TAG-ee
Ehddan – ehd-DAN
Falraan (Captain Falraan) – fall-RAN
Nordoc –NORE-doc
Oen (Guardian Oen) – OH-ehn (almost like Owen with less emphasis on the WUH in the middle)
Rovinnan – ROVE-in-nan
Jorune – joe-RUNE
Bartalus – BAR-tuh-luhs
Veladis – veh-LAH-dis
Ralli – RAHL-ee (like Rally or Valley)
Petor – peh-TORE (the E is nearly silent)
Quig – KWIHG (like twig)
Aizel (Lord Aizel) – EYE-zehl
Wralka (Prince Wralka) – wrawl-KAH
Yarkin – yahr-KIN
Tezzirax – tez-zee-RACKS (almost like tesseract with a lot of buzz)
Rindal (Sir Rindal) – RIN-doll
Kvarrak – kuh-VAR-rack
Gnarwa – NAHR-wuh (start way back in the throat)
Losqua – LAH-skwah
Dranna – drahn-NUH
Marek – mare-EHK
Andrigar (Captain Andrigar) – ahn-dri-GAR
Palla – PAL-luh
Eldravina – ehl-drah-VEE-nah
Dederon – dehd-er-ON
Esrenar – ehz-rehn-AHR
Harna-Ki – hahr-nah-KEY
Iris – EYE-rihs (like the flower)
Chreen (Lord Chreen) – CHREEN (like preen only all messed up at the beginning)
Dakkar – duh-CAR


Vorallon – VORE-eh-lawn
Jaarda – JAR-duh
Nefryt – neh-FREET
Zuxra – ZUCKS-rah
Ousenar – OU-zen-ar
Erenar – AIR-en-ar
Zed – zed (just like the British Z)
Keth (Keth Forest) – KETH (like Beth)
Halversome – HAL-ver-sum
Silarne (Silarne River) sil-ARN
Vlaske K’Brak – vlas-KEY kuh-BRACK
Kur K’Tahn – cur-kuh-TAN
Jalton – JAHL-tun


Voradin (Voradin Tree) – VORE-a-dihn
Vranka – vreyn-KAH
Brakke Zahn – bra-KEY ZON
Sakke Vrang – sa-KEY VRANG
Chokke K’Rak – cho-KEY kuh-RACK
Tzet Fek – tzet-FECK
Trundt – trundt (just like it is spelled)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Gifts of Vorallon 99 cent sale! July 18th thru 21

All three kindle books of the Gift of Vorallon trilogy are on sale July 18 thru 21 for .99 cents each on

The Final Warden (book 1)
City of Thunder (book 2)
Lord of Vengeance (book 3)

This is a promotion with other DeadPixel Publications authors. Look for 99 sale books by my good friends, Robert Brumm and Travis Mohrman.

Visit DeadPixel Publications and find links to the blogs and books of all our wonderful authors, and be sure to LIKE us on Facebook!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ram-Jack art

There can be no doubt that my inspiration for Ram-Jack is coming from the visual style of anime. I have been sketching up lots of studies of my basic Ram-Jack. This is the workup I have sketched so far, it is not a 3D model, just 2D painting in quick grey tones. You can see the difference between the more finished bottom half and the sketchy top half.

Friday, June 21, 2013


(this is me playing in the sandbox of an anime inspired space opera)


By Thomas Cardin
I closed my eyes to the whirling stars as my Ram-Jack spun out of control. Thirty tons of fighting machine, reduced to scrap. Well, thirty tons at launch would be more exact. Now with its head and right arm blown off and right leg more holes than leg, I would place the weight at more like twenty tons. Even with the damage, the damn thing should still fly.

“Lieutenant Kell, maintain radio silence. We are picking up your passive telemetry feeds. The bogies in your quadrant are targeting transmission sources.”
“Thanks for that bit of news,” I muttered to myself. “It’s a damn good thing I didn’t cry for help when my head stopped spinning.” That sounded bad for the other thirty one Ram-Jack’s in the trashed battle group.  Those who called for help after the initial salvo of enemy fire must have gotten an alien care package, special delivery.
With my eyes closed, the diagnostic visuals were still alive in my head. Those would go out once all the reserve power was gone. I would get a few minutes of peace and quiet while I sucked on the last of my air, something fun to look forward to.
That was way down the road. I had at least a whole half hour to get the main battery power back on line. The two battery cells read zero amperage, when they should be at nearly full charge. They were either blown away, or otherwise disengaged from their couplings. Just one of them would be enough to light up the thrusters and limp back to the Battlecarrier Katrina, assuming she still existed by then.
I took stock of what I did have working on my Ram-Jack. My electronics and life support were running on reserve battery power. Communications, awesome, use it and eat a few more rounds of whatever the bogies were firing at us. Four of six ion ram thrusters, operational but powered down. They could not come close the charge needed to fire on reserve power. The armored cockpit around me remained intact and held full atmosphere. My neural interface was working as designed, giving me sensory feedback on what remained of my Ram-Jack. Three tons of railgun ammunition, it should be four since I had not shot any, but one ton must have gone with the right arm of the Ram-Jack. I could move the left arm and leg, but the servomotors would be a heavy drain on my reserve power.
Yes, I am indeed sitting in the remains of a battery operated giant robot. A running joke among my fellow pilots—we called ourselves ‘kids’, and there was no mistaking what our ‘toys’ were.
Left hand toolkit read intact—finally some good news. Now to see if the problem with the main batteries was something I could fix.
Cameras were at 50%. A significant chunk of what was missing had been on the Ram-Jack’s head, but there were many more scattered around the machine. I shut off the ergonomic interlocks and swung the machine’s left arm behind me. The main batteries were right where a human’s kidneys would be, right below the back thruster package. I isolated my view down to the left hand camera and took a look.
The armor skin had a nice, blossoming exit wound over the right side battery. All kinds of tasty goodness bled out in a thin spray of particles. I shivered for a second. That shot had to have passed very close to my cockpit hidden deep under the thickened chest armor, probably only inches past the plating where my right foot rested in its actuator harness. I swallowed that ninth life back down and examined the area over the left hand battery. Clean white armor skin.
“All right, let’s find out what’s eating you.”

Monday, June 17, 2013

My Approach to Writing

I posted the main body of this on a GoodReads author's discussion.

I write fantasy, and I am planning a science fiction story as well.

My process used and refined during the writing of the Gifts of Vorallon trilogy:

Imagine my loose concept--"It's going to be a story about A1 going to B2 and all hell breaks loose until C3 gets F4'd"

I like Shakespeare's 5 act story construction as a loose guideline for the dramatic arc. My take on it is:
1. establish the problem
2. come up with a plan to fix problem
3. Uh oh! The plan fails or compounds the problem
4. pick up the pieces and dig deep for the true fix
5. execute final plan

This is a general dramatic arc for the whole novel or series, but each subpart can also run through a similar or partial treatment.

Coming up with the problem is first, followed immediately by coming up with the final solution, even if a partial fix is all that can happen. I boil both of these down to a simple statement like, problem-The God of Undeath is going to destroy the world and all life upon it. Solution-Use all the power of life that can be mustered to stop him.

I then created the intervening moments with the same level of detail: The Plan-create the hero that can stop the God of Undeath. The Uh Oh-There is another opponent of the hero who must be dealt with first.
The new plan-The hero must gather all the life that remains to have a chance of winning.

Then I work on my characters:
I build up my characters until they are alive in my head, a sort of compartmentalized roleplaying. This involves sketching out their likeness so that I can picture them. To define who they are as people, I need to know how they will react in given situations and how they view the world past the end of their own nose. This takes the form of mental and written notes and an interview process I put them through. My goal being to create an individual who feels genuine, and it is just a starting point because the story will further shape them.

I then write a loose outline that connects characters and events together. They all must grow, even though some are going to grow towards the negative and lose some of what makes them sympathetic to the reader.

It is the characters who really fill in the details as I flesh out the story, they see the conflicts from very different perspectives. In the case of my trilogy, the Uh Oh of act 3 was different for everyone. Even the initial problem was not equally understood by all characters until deep into act 4.

Those of you who have read the Gifts of Vorallon may be scratching your head at much of this, but the story really did come about this way. The complexity is the number of levels each character's personal view.

My current project, The Fire of Falraan is even more driven by the characters and my outline is far looser. It has become a fascinating experience for me to write as I allow the characters to guide my hand. All I have given them is a loose "I would like you all to get to 'here' by the time we're done".

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Final Demon Line-Up

Here is the final line-up of the demons of May:
If you have purchased or read one of more of the Gifts of Vorallon books, please send me an email or private message on goodreads or facebook with your mailing address and your pick of demons to receive a signed postcard featuring your favorite demon. Choose up to three demons if you have the entire trilogy. End of June will be the last day to request your signed demon postcards. Friend and follow me on facebook to be alerted for any other chances to receive signed graphics of my Vorallon art.

Friday, May 31, 2013

May 31st Demon

And finally...

“I have walked this world before and others before it, I will walk it again and again long after you and this boy are dust, because my soul will endure. All your friends, the boy’s family, they all lie dead for no purpose other than to feed my hunger.”
The demon was only vaguely humanoid, in that he had two arms and two legs, but the long neck and lashing tail, gave him a decidedly serpentine aspect. His demon body was pure black from toothy snout to barbed tail. Scars covered his scaled hide in a pattern that disturbingly matched Lorace’s own. His back was stooped low just to fit within the hall.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

May 30th Demon Lord Aizel

...A tall black form separated itself from the encircling demons and stepped toward him, moving with the grace of a dancer on a stage... Lord  Aizel reached down and wrapped Lorace's head in a hand with fingers like the long, chitinous legs of a black spider.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May 28th, 29th Demon

Ah, the Chaos Demon, a mountain of black noisesome flesh. Hundreds of the strongest among the demon horde bore its massive iron palanquin on their shoulders.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Final Warden is free today, May 24, on the Kindle! Through my friends and fellow authors from DeadPixel Publications the word has spread. There are still 8 hours left in the day, but in case this is as high up the Free Kindle Fantasy / Epic top 100 it climbs, here it is:

May 24th Demon

Many of the demons amounted to warped and distorted things, mockeries of human forms.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

May 23rd Demon

"Some appeared delicate and graceful, though far from beautiful. Many were feminine or had female characteristics..."

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

May 22nd Demon

I told Lorace that I thought the worm wasn't so bad, it kind of looked happy in an odd way. This of course prompted the description of a decidedly horrible abomination

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

May 21 Demon

Amidst the horde were those demons that crawled and slithered, undulating their ungainly bulks like maggots seeking rotted flesh.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Fires of Falraan - Cover Preview

I have switched writing gears, shelving my work on the Return of King Levant to work on the story that has latched hold of me with a passion.

The Fire of Falraan will be the story of Captain Falraan's journey from a young girl swept up in a long pilgrimage to the uncompromising young woman who commands the Guardsmen of Halversome.

May 18th, 19th, and 20th Demons

The horde of demons was a vast sea of black, chaotic forms.

Friday, May 17, 2013

May 17th Demon

The demon of despair was a small, maformed thing, A swift, long-legged demon of the vanguard carried it in its arms.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

May 16th Demon

Some of the horde crawled on hundreds of finger-like legs, made all the more monstrous for the twisted man-shapes that remained.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Falraan Almost Done

Detailing on her dress and background are all that remains. I am toying with the idea of jewelry and hair adornments as well. We shall see.

May 15th Demon

This behemoth demon was one of the larger horde relegated to the task of carrying the great planaquin. There was no doubt its bulk and strength alone would be capable of crashing through the Pilgrim's Gate of Halversome.

Update to the Demon a Day Promotion!
When the month of May is done, and all the demons have been drawn, you have until the end of June to send me an email with your address and choice of demons - one for each book of the Gifts of Vorallon you have read - or become a friend or fan on Goodreads or Facebook - to receive your demon on a signed postcard.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

May 14th Demon

A fast running horror among the vanguard of Lord Aizel's demon horde.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Friday, May 10, 2013

May 10th Demon

The sword-claw demon is one of my favorites. Fast, cunning, and deadly.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

May 9th Demon

Today's demon is another from the group that assaulted Vlaske K'Brak. This claw-foot demon has long, powerful legs with backward knees.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Captain Falraan update

Trimmed the hair a bit. Recolored the dress and changed the corset and her breasts to a slightly less "push up bra" look. Still more to do... Lots.

May 8th Demon

The bat-winged demon had an awkward, unbalanced aspect, but its serrated tail spoke volumes of deadliness.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

May 7th Demon

It tore at the wall of dwarven shields, seeking to pull them apart.

There's no monster anatomy here. Just tentacles and lots of them. Though in this rare glimpse there are a few mouths exposed.