EPOCH

 

 

Welcome to EPOCH's Progress Blog


8/2017

Busy busy busy. As readers of this blog know, I released the new proto website in mid-July (here). But because I don’t use Apple, I wasn’t able to test it on the Safari browser until it went live. Sadly, one of the major bells and whistles for the site didn’t work on Safari, so I had to dumb down that portion to something more mundane. But it’ll be working properly when I roll everything out for real.

In the meantime, I switched gears and have made solid progress on the Book II manuscript. It takes some work getting back into author mode, but it’s coming along. I have about two-thirds of the book written (better than just rough draft quality) and a fairly detailed outline of what needs to be added in, so that’s front and center these days.

Finally, I’ve massively enhanced the covers for books 1 & 2 and they’re more gorgeous than I ever hoped. Between more vivid colors and upgraded branding, everything looks like candy good enough ta lick. What more could one ask from a book cover? So there ya have it — all the summer Epoch news that’s fit to print. See ya in the fall.


Taps

Special Announcement — July 2017

So, does the 23rd count as mid-month? I promised to release a first look at the new EPOCH website in the middle of this month, so click here and glimpse the future!

Be sure to take the right-hand path (“TELL ME MORE”) to get the full tour.

The site uses javascript, so if you’ve got that disabled you won’t get all the chewy goodness that makes the site cool. Also, I haven’t tested it on every single browser (particularly Safari), so there may still be bugs in some. I create using Firefox, and it works swimmingly on that.

*Bear in mind that this is an advance look bonus for people who follow my Prog Blog, so the site isn’t as complete as it’ll be when I release the books (I left out the Gallery, for instance). But this is the new scheme and much of the content.


Enjoy!

 

6/2017

Last month, I announced that I’d be posting a look at the new website this month, and so I shall. It’s not ready quite yet, but I expect it to be by mid-month, so I’ll be making a special post around then letting y’all know when you can see the new site and how to reach it. This will be an exclusive advanced look for those who follow this prog blog. It won’t actually become the default EPOCH site until the novels are published.

I’m extremely pleased with the site’s new look and functionality and I can’t wait to get more eyes on it, but there are still some areas that just aren’t up to snuff and need ironing out. All of that is getting sorted out and most of the site is good to go, so the EPOCH machine is ramping up along with summer.

On a related note, it’s coming more and more to my attention that there could be an extended universe for EPOCH which would examine aspects of the world-building that don’t fit into the novels. I’m still not sure about the robustness for the idea, so I don’t want to make any promises this early on, but if this all turns out to be something sustainable, there could be a wealth of related stories taking place in the world of EPOCH that give the history of how we got from here to there, as well as what might be going on in parallel realities. It’s tantalizing, and I hope it gathers steam, but first things first: website and novels 1 & 2. Those remain my priority for 2017.

Have a great 4th of July, everyone; whether it’s your Independence Day or not!


Taps

5/2017

It’s been quite a while since I posted an update, and things have happened. I spent most of March sick from various wintersome illnesses, including a nasty case of the flu that really slowed me down. But April and May were productive months and I’ve been busily adding bells and whistles to the upcoming website. There’s only one thing keeping me from finishing it, but that one thing’s a doozy and has so far proven problematic.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on Book 2 and doing my best to maintain the same tone and feel as Book 1. While Book 2 is a continuation of the story, it also introduces all-new characters and storylines that have to play well with the established arcs in Book 1. So that’s an ongoing effort.

I continue my 3D modeling, building up a library of EPOCH characters, ships and sets that flesh out the visuals and take the story beyond the limits of words on pages. The website will be the ultimate proof of all this labor, and I’m seriously looking forward to its release. If you follow this prog blog, you’ll get to view the site early — hopefully no later than July and well before the two books are released. So check back in early July to see if I’ve managed to get the site live. If so, you’ve got a treat coming.


Taps

2/2017

Following on last month’s work, February was all about dialing-in my vision. Book 1 is complete and ready to go, and I’ve completed my initial read-through of the Book 2 draft. There’s lots more to add, but the 68k words I already have are now refined and formalized.

As for the rebranding, ‘EPOCH’ has stuck and I’m working on how to move forward comprehensively (plans within plans). My site’s name comes up for renewal at the end of March and I want the new scheme in place before then, so that’s been occupying my time this last week. Hopefully, it’s solidifying so I can get on with the work at hand.

Lastly, I’ve had to bow to the fact that my 3D labors will be a constant. I just can’t keep my hands out of it, so I have more to show for EPOCH’s visual world, and it’s growing with each week (fortnight is more accurate). One thing I’m really digging into is internal sets for the starships. The Asherah now has a full section of staff quarters for Trish and friends to occupy, and there’s more in the works all the time. There’s just no resisting it; I really can’t help myself.

So that’s where things are with EPOCH this fine young year. Hope 2017’s going your way, too.


Taps

1/2017

I skipped last month’s post because I was in the throes of a major shift in my strategy. Today, I’m happy to report that the dust has settled and I’m well along on the new approach.

So, ‘what is it?’ you might ask... well, I’ve changed the title of the series. Gone is the old ‘Soulstice’, replaced by the more evocative ‘EPOCH’, with an all-new naming scheme for the individual books. Also, I’ll be offering paperback copies through Amazon’s CreateSpace print-on-demand service for those who like to hold a physical book in their hands. I’m currently finishing up the print formatting for Book 1, and will be moving on to book 2 in a few days. This required reformatting the covers to meet the trade paperback sizing — a process which took a few days and some serious virtual elbow grease. But the covers are done and ready, and everything’s on-track for a mid-year relaunch with fanfare.

I’ve taken this makeover as an opportunity to add scenes and passages to Book 1 that should’ve been there in the first place. It’s a richer and more satisfying story now, IMO. Plus, I’ve dramatically reduced the length of chapters from family-size to fun-size (where there were originally 14 massive chapters, there are now 31 ranging between 9-12 paperback-sized pages each), which helps a story become a page-turner.

All of this came about while perusing the various writing threads on Reddit, discovering ideas and suggestions by other published authors whose wheels I have no desire to reinvent. This year, EPOCH is being groomed for success both as literature and also well beyond that scope — although I’m keeping those plans to myself for the time being... MWAHAHAHAHA.

Here’s to a glorious 2017, everyone!


Taps

11/2016

I’m not really sure how to summarize November. I got a lot done, but it was all detail work that I hadn’t predicted. Long story short, when I reported last month that I’d finished certain 3D models, I was premature. They’re done NOW, but it took all month to get them there.

I guess November was about getting things straight. After receiving some feedback from a reader (a near-nonexistent event), I learned that my street-slang approach to dialogue is too taxing for readers to enjoy, which means I’ll need to redo the dialogue in Book 1 and the manuscript for Book 2 before moving forward. It’s not actually difficult to do, but wow will it delay the timeline. 2017? I fully expect so. Month? Ask a prophet. The main consolation is that the books will be markedly better and more enjoyable to read — and isn’t that always a storyteller’s goal?

In the meantime, my finalized Asherah is making its way into new artwork that’ll accompany Book 2’s release. Plus, my perfected new Trish model and her chic Zodiac Lounge are primed for a turntable cinematic that’ll make its way to Youtube. I don’t know of a better way to announce a novel, especially to a sci-fi crowd. Book trailers are a depressing waste of time/effort/cash, but a high-quality cinematic is an entirely different animal. So, here’s to innovation.


Taps

10/2016

Strange that it’s already November. October barely started and here we are already moving on.

I was head-down all month surfing the 3D current that’s been sweeping me along, and I have lots to show for my time. Following on last month’s progress with the Asherah and Trish models, I now have the Zodiac Lounge. A few finishing touches and it’ll be ready to PARTY! I’ve also further refined Trish and completed her wardrobe (stage, casual, formal and official). The Anita model is in the refining stage, and though I haven’t sat down to create Iarrah just yet, I have all the ingredients I need. I’ve also created Jerrett, Major Leyne, Major Andrea Roi (introduced in Book 2), and all the EarthFleet and EarthGuard officer uniforms (mariner and warrior divisions, both daily and formal dress), along with prototypes for a few deckhands. Yeah, it’s been a busy month.

For November, the manuscript takes precedence. I have a bunch of ideas that deserve to be woven into the story, and a few characters from earlier drafts who’re becoming focal points. But why did it wait until now? Why wasn’t I able to blast out the manuscript earlier like I planned?

After a bit of soul searching, I’ve realized the reason I’ve been focusing on 3D rather than story lately is because a book release without fanfare gets SOULSTICE nowhere. The visual aspect has always been a major dimension of the storytelling for me, so the launch of Book 2 will include a visual campaign that breathes even more richness and life into the series. And on that mildly cryptic note...


Taps

9/2016

September was big. I freely admit that I spent the first two-thirds of the month battling personal demons. Instead of making progress on the manuscript, I got lost in details and worked on everything (anything) else. But it actually led somewhere, and by the 21st I’d finalized the cover for Book 2! Yes, FINALIZED. And that’s when I was able to corral the demons and move forward. For the rest of the month I tried to focus on the manuscript and got redirected to 3D, with huge results.

Having sat myself down to flesh out a formal itinerary for the Asherah’s Orion cruise (complete with FTL calcs and a travelogue), I realized I had to have an Asherah to include, since no self-respecting cruise line would dare post an itinerary that didn’t also showcase the ship. And as of today, I’ve made it happen. The Asherah: Queen of Heaven is complete and ‘ready for her closeup, Mr. DeMille’. Yes, you’re reading that right: the full-scale 3D model of the Asherah is done – all 14 gleaming kilometers of her!

I’ve also managed to develop a reliable 3D workflow to build properly-rigged characters. I now, finally, have good solid working Trish and Zo models I can use for almost all situations. I also have uniformed deckhands and officers for those military moments. But beyond that, I’ve even figured out a way to create generic figures for crowds – because my leading ladies need audiences to play to. So in terms of the visuals for SOULSTICE, there are only a few loose ends; most of the major stuff is good to go. Now, if only I can get back to that manuscript for Book 2...


Taps

8/2016

Wow, what a month August has been. Book 1 (Adventus) has been updated and republished as a third edition with an improved cover, the website has gotten a makeover (more to come, but I’m rolling it out in phases), and I finally started a blog.

But it hasn’t all been peripheral. I’m considering ending Book 2 on a cliffhanger, which would allow me to publish it sooner and with more attention to aspects of the story that've been waiting for their big moment. So the SOULSTICE SAGA might become a 4-book series.

Now that my concerns about Book 1 have been put to bed for good and my online presence has been established according to plan, there’s no longer anything waiting on a back burner and I can focus completely on finishing Book 2 (and adding to the blog). It took all this time for 2016 to really fall into place, but I’m finally back in the zone. Huzzah!


Taps

7/2016

Lo, changes are afoot. July has been productive, but not in expected directions. While the manuscript for book 2 idles at the curb, the website’s getting properly pimped. As I look into ways of publicizing my book, I learn more and more about author branding. Enough, in fact, to know that I’m not interested in promoting myself. For me, everything’s about SOULSTICE, and that means it’s time for the website to mirror the saga’s universe. I’ve got some bells and whistles planned and it’s gonna take a while to do it right, but it’ll be worth it. Scouts’ honor.

That’s not to say the story’s on hold; I just need to spread my time between the two more effectively. That’ll be my focus in August as I work toward a completed package of book 2, website, blogs and all the trimmings.

Meanwhile, I’ve improved the covers and overall cover scheme for the series going forward and will be rolling out a new and improved edition of ADVENTUS prior to releasing book 2. I’m even planning a ‘new release’ promo, so keep that in mind and check back as we approach autumn.


Taps

6/2016

Where May renewed my sense of optimism, June cemented it in place. I made solid progress on the manuscript in the first part of the month, and then the 3D bug bit and I found myself making strides with models for the graphic novel. First, I finally got to work using DAZ 3D to see if characters I create there can be imported usably into other packages, and it turns out they can! So now I have my character engine and itís time to bring out my inner fashion designer to begin creating outfits and uniforms. Next, I got hold of a nice gixxer model for Jay (the crotch-rocket of Anitaís joyride). And finally, I discovered an awesome ship online that Iíve been able to perfectly customize into the Banthis, which gets introduced in Book 2 and is the third most important ship in the saga (behind Trishís runabout and the Asherah). So all of that is relatively huge and gives even my analytical heart some warm fuzzies.

As for the story, Iíve completed every major character arc up to the big moment in the book Ė with the exception of Anita, whoís still dangling in limbo and weighing on my mind. But thatís part of the writing process and Iím letting it have its way.

Lastly, Iíve been working on some new artwork that can only be completed with the help of DAZ characters, so now that Iím working in that package I should be able to add some new visions to the Soulstice gallery. All in all, not bad for a year that began as a train wreck.


Taps

5/2016

Just like with last year, May seems to have been a turning point. The disconnectedness and distractions of the past few months have given way to renewed purpose, and book 2 is well on its way. Currently, the manuscript is at 97,000 words and counting, which means it's already larger than book 1 and there’s still plenty to go.

I’m reminded that it was on May 30th of last year when I decided to turn Soulstice into a set of novels and began pulling Book 1 together. It took me the rest of 2015 to make it happen, but that was a first effort with no coherent manuscript to start from and no previous experience with self-publishing. Contrast that with where manuscript 2 is at now, and ‘optimism’ becomes the word du jour.

Still, I find my future plans for Soulstice morphing here and there. Not the novels themselves, but what comes after. My map of Soulstice’s future seems fluid, as if my subconscious is looking for options I’m currently blind to. At the beginning of 2016 I could’ve told you exactly where Soulstice would end up. Today, not quite so sure. And maybe that’s all just part of the process. As Dory would say: “Just keep swimming.” Or to paraphrase GoT: “Book 2 is coming.” May it be swift and sure.


Taps

4/2016

April: in which stuff happened and things were done. Book 2 continues its slow but steady journey to completion amidst a raft of other concerns. I keep wondering if this is just part of writing a series. The first book is fast and furious and full of momentum, but once it gets published that momentum bleeds off and the author settles into a less driven lifestyle. I have to say, the first book dominated me for a very long time, and I think there’s a part of me craving a more normal existence where writing is just a part of my life, not all of it. I simply don’t have the full head of steam that propelled me through that first book, although I do still regularly work on book 2.

I guess I just have to let myself settle into a steadier, more sustainable lifestyle and let go of the ‘gotta get published gotta get published’ mentality. It’s an abrupt and dramatic shift, but it seems to be forced on me. The old feverish approach simply no longer exists.

If this is the new normal, so be it. Like Peter O’Toole says in my favorite movie: “There’s no use asking if the air is good when there’s nothing else to breathe.”


Taps

3/2016

Mild, mild March began perfectly on-track. I nearly finalized the cover for book 2 and made grand progress on the manuscript. And then... I don’t actually know what happened. In fact, I’m still working my way free of the distraction-fest that was the second half of March. Not that it was a bad month — certainly nothing like THE MONTH THAT SHALL NOT BE NAMED — it just didn’t turn out to be a month of Soulstice. I think a lot of it had to do with clearing the basement of black mold. The amount of work involved was seriously intrusive and I just never got into the zone.

That being said, I have made some progress. The story’s deepening and gaining resonance that it didn’t have before – though that hasn’t translated into actual word count. And my admittedly weak efforts to promote book 1 on Reddit have been ignored to the point of crickets and frogs. It’s disheartening, but I have to remind myself that I’m a debut author with yet to produce a second book in the series. Only the bravest (or most disinterested) readers are willing to invest themselves in a brand new author’s early vision before there’s a follow-up to add heft. So I’m hoping that things will begin gathering steam when I publish book 2.

But rest assured, I’m back on the case. The manuscript for book 2 is already so far along that a mid-2016 release is still likely. The world could blow up, of course; but in that event, no one’ll give a flying anyway. In the words of Nick Fury: “Until such time as the world ends, we will act as if it intends to spin on.”


Taps

2/2016

Wow... February. I don’t know about y’all, but I and everyone I know had a bitch of a month. It seemed like every possible weakness in our lives unraveled and demanded fixing. My PC crashed and had to be rebuilt; we discovered black mold in our basement (poorly installed vent); my friend’s brakes went out on his way home from work (without incident); someone near and dear to me discovered her husband's beginning an affair; after 25 years of going to chiropractors I was suddenly diagnosed with a short leg (6 millimeters), so all my adjustments and the tens of thousands of dollars I’ve spent over half my lifetime were never really on point until now; there were various little illnesses that sapped everyone's productivity; and to top it all off, I discovered errors in the first novel that had to be fixed.

Yeah, I’m putting February down like a sick dog. Cripes! But the first novel has been corrected and is republished as a second edition, and I’m finally moving on to book 2.

On the upside, book 2's cover is essentially done. There are details to address, but the big things are all in place. Plus, I’m also working on the outline for book 3 as I go. So all in all, things are working — it’s just been a slog getting here. Hope your Feb was better, and here’s looking to a mild March.


Taps

1/2016

Ah, the publishing bid'ness. What a busy damn month. Soulstice: Adventus has been rolled out to all the major Ebookshops (Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks, Barnes&Noble, etc.). Plus, a new look for the website, new online accounts, book revisions, upgraded covers...the growing pains of becoming an author. But is it worth it? I was on a stroll last week and realized that despite the constant effort and endless next steps, I love what I'm doing. This'z what I was built for.

But enough about me. Anyone who's read Adventus knows I added a sneak peak of the next book at the back. To those who wonder where book 2 is in the development process, I'm pleased to say the WIP manuscript is over 75k words strong and growing. Does that mean a mid-year release? If my experience with Adventus tells me anything, it's that planning a release date this early in the process is premature. 2016, yes. Mid-2016? Maybe. Being a writer requires developing an active social-media life (something with which I have no experience), so it's hard for me to say how much time that'll eat. But hey, it's the write life.


Taps

12/2015

BIG NEWS!!! Soulstice: Adventus is finished and available on Amazon and Smashwords!!! Yours truly has finally realized a lifelong ambition and become a published author and novelist (not to mention cover artist). The book should soon be distributed to all the other major ebookshops, like iBooks, Barnes&Noble, Sony, Kobo and a slew of others (see the full list here). So after many years of working toward and working toward, I and my story have finally arrived!

(A quick note on specifics. There's a lot of very deliberate formatting in Soulstice which doesn't always carry over to e-readers. I'm finding the most accurate presentation with Calibre and Amazon's own Kindle Previewer. From working with Kindle Previewer, it seems like Amazon's Kindle Fire series does the best job, but I don't have an e-reader or tablet, nor do I read on my phone, so I can only offer advice regarding laptop/desktop readers.)

Once Adventus has been distributed ot the other ebookshops, the next step is to begin working on Book II: Cathexis. Here's hoping it doesn't take up all of 2016.


Merry Christmas everybody!

11/2015

I spent November editing and proofing the manuscript and finishing up all the peripherals that go with publishing a book (who knew there could be so many?). But it's all done. The manuscript, the cover, the new website, the new art going on the website (see the new gallery), the excerpts and extras being added to the website, the Author's Note at the front of the book, my author bio, the book description and all the other little niggling things that have to be in place before one can actually publish. Which means there's only one task left: actually formatting the manuscript into an ebook and posting it for sale online.

As of now, I plan to release the book on December 15th. It's a pretty hard-and-fast date and I don't anticipate a problem meeting it... but, you know. In any case, the next time you hear from me on this blog, I'll be a published author (pops cork).


Taps

10/2015

YES!!!

The manuscript for SOULSTICE Volume 1: ADVENTUS is complete, and now I'm just reading through to make sure everything's as it should be. The next step is formatting it into an ebook (something I've done before), so I'll be making the big announcement in November.

To support the release, I'm also redoing the website. It'll have more of a promotional feel for visitors with no prior exposure, and I'll be updating the gallery as well. Plus, I'll be providing excerpts from the book for those who like to sample before they buy (namely, everyone). The overhaul's about halfway done at this point, which leaves the book cover.

I've been letting the Asherah model simmer in the background, but I know what I have so far is workable. I expect the cover to take about two or three solid workdays to complete, so now my biggest challenge is figuring out how to let the world know Soulstice exists. Ideas are welcome.


Taps

9/2015

True to my expectations, September turned out to be the month I was hoping for. The manuscript for Volume 1 is now fully drafted (except for random things that will make it in during the revision process), and is now in editing mode. Plus, a major epiphany took my terribly convoluted timeline and untangled it into an elegant and effective plot that neatly spans 3 volumes; so Soulstice is now a solid trilogy with good ending points and a satisfying plotline that I can settle into and feel good about. This has been a very long time coming, so in the words of Buffy Summers: "Yay me!"

As far as the Asherah model is concerned, I've had some creative sparks there as well. One of the solutions to last month's uglification was to make the ship itself larger and the offending details smaller. I've done enough remodeling to know this'll work, so I've left it on the back burner while I focus on the manuscript. But suffice it to say, Asherah will shape up rapidly once I'm in a place to finalize it.

Last and least, I received a 15% off coupon from one of my online 3D model sources, and after EPIC bouts of searching discovered a fantastic 3D setting for one (or more) of Trish's shipboard adventures. I just need to convert it into a Maya model and it'll be glorious, so new scenes could be showing up in the ARULU art gallery sometime soon.

I love it when a plan comes together.


Taps

8/2015

It turns out that Soulstice may actually be a saga. Who knew? (Welcome to my world.) I'd prefer it to be a 2-volume set, but certain requirements for publishing on Smashwords could force me to break up the story so each volume leaves off at a logical end point rather than as a cliffhanger (which appears to be frowned upon by said establishment). Unless I figure out a solution, this spreads the story across 4 volumes. That said, Volume 1 is in the final stretch. All the existing material has been pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle and I'm at the point of adding new material to round it out. That'll be the work of September.

Meanwhile: yes, I actually completed the Asherah model… only to find it doesn't look as good in reality as it did in my head. So I'm redesigning it (a substantial undertaking that's well underway). My inner wisdom assures me that such setbacks are to be expected, so I s'pose this is just business as usual. Ah, the life of a creator.

The good thing about the above developments (prepare for a silver-lining quest) is that they've led me down roads I hadn't previously explored. I now have some childhood and pre-childhood moments for Trish and Zo, as well as consolidating two separate EarthFleet characters into a single character with a series-spanning career. I can only hope my efforts to rework the Asherah lead to similar breakthroughs. Here's to serendipity…


Taps

7/2015

So, the manuscript for Soulstice Volume I is coming along nicely. Out of 126 identified scenes, 93 have been finalized. That leaves 33 to go, or basically a fourth of the story. I expect some additional scenes will make it into the final draft, but seventy-five percent so far ain't bad. Right now I can't promise a September release date, but it's not out of the question. And if not September, then almost certainly October.

Meanwhile, vast progress on the Asherah! A fortunate experiment took the ship in a new direction and Trish's starliner is now far enough along that I've been able to add it to the book cover mock-up as a placeholder. The cover is completely ready except for the finalized ship, which will definitely be done by publishing time.

Lastly, careful readers may have noticed the 'Volume I' tacked on to the title. Well, now that I'm far enough into the manuscript to see what I've got, it's clear that Soulstice needs to be spread across two books. There's just too much going on for a single novel. Volume II will carry the story to its ultimate conclusion, and I'll be publishing that in 2016 (hopefully early- or mid-year) while I continue prepping the graphic novel.
(BTW, the Soulstice 3D library now contains a substantial 74 models, including those pesky Alliance vessels I needed.)

Anyway, that's all the news for now.


Taps

6/2015

June was a big month. I made huge progress on the novel and believe I'm on track for a September release. Working through the original drafts of scenes has reminded me of certain plot points I'd forgotten, which can only enhance the story.

I've also made decent progress on the 3D model of Trish's starliner, the Asherah. If I were to stop everything and just focus on that I could probably complete it for distance shots in a few days, and then dial in the detail for close-ups. But with the novel taking precedence I only work on it once in a while. So far, I have the first city district blocked out and almost finished, and the others will be variations on that initial theme. Completing the first one will bring the other three districts rapidly into shape. I expect to have the distance-shot model finished by the end of July.

Needing a break from those two things, I also created a mock-up of the book cover. I won't be able to finish it until I've got a render-ready Asherah, but as of now everything's on schedule and all systems are go.


Taps

5/2015

What to say about May…? Things went differently than planned. I did begin Trish's hair, 'begin' being the operative term. Then an unexpected realization took over: I can publish the prose novel of Soulstice sooner than I can publish the graphic novel — like, maybe by end of summer. It lays a foundation that I can build everything else on, with the graphic novel coming thereafter. So I've spent the last week finalizing the outline and collecting everything that's already been written. Imagine my surprise to find that I've already got 85% of it drafted. Nice!

I'll keep working on the visuals for the graphic novel 'cuz that's the real prize, but the prose novel gets done this summer.


Taps

 

4/2015

April has been busy, but in different directions than anticipated. I still haven't completed Trish's hair, but not for lack of trying. The polygon method of creating hair didn't do the trick, so I'm deciding whathair system to use. They all have pros and cons, so it's about of choosing wisely.

I'm also finally in the process of building the Asherah, Trish's fabulous starliner. It's labor-intensive, but absolutely essential to the story. I can only hope it turns out close to how I see it in my mind.

And lastly, the scripts for Soulstice's first 3 story arcs are finalized and ready to use. Now it's a matter of collecting all the assets I need to make the visuals. The good news… that's 18 weeks' worth of content, so the story is moving right along. I've decided to make the first 6-week story arc free to give everyone a chance to see how Soulstice looks and reads before choosing a subscription type (month-to-month or yearly). It's only fair, considering this is a debut title from a first-time creator.

May will be the month for doing everything I can on the Trish model to get her ready for a professional-level rig. I'm also hoping to complete either the Asherah or Trish's nightclub, the Zodiac Lounge. Plus, I hope to make progress on Soulstice's dedicated website. I have a master plan for distinguishing this online graphic novel from the many webcomics already out there, so stay tuned.


Taps

3/2015

March started with a hush. And within the quiet, I discovered a need for something sexy. New ship, anyone? So I found an excellent base model by Sender Pinarci on turbosquid and modified it into the perfect staff shuttle to ferry Trish to her new home among the stars. It'll feature prominently in the opening story arc, so I'm very pleased to welcome it aboard, along with a sinister new enemy cruiser from GrafxBox (also on turbosquid) which figures a bit later.

I've also completed the mods to the Trish model that were nagging at me, and I've created her stage costume, so now it's on to her hair and her flightsuit (the important things in life, right?).

Logistics-wise, I've decided to roll out Soulstice on a weekly basis, a few pages at a time. This will allow me to publish it much sooner than I'd hoped — almost certainly sometime this year — and also to provide the characters time to breathe and mature into full-fledged people rather than just rushing from event to event. It modifies the story's timeline a bit and I'm currently working out those bugs, but it's worth it to be able to bring Soulstice to the table sooner. The key thing is, instead of just offering a prelude this year and publishing Soulstice next year, the whole thing will start this year. That's the plan for now.


Taps

 

2/2015

So, February's been a month of fits and starts. In hopes of getting to publication sooner, I've been toying with the idea of presenting Soulstice as a series of standalone episodes that would tie together later. This would allow me to begin with episodes for which I have all the props I need rather than waiting until my 3D inventory is fully complete. But I've realized the story is better the way it's already been planned. So to satisfy my urge to release something sooner, I'm developing a prelude to whet peoples' appetites. I'm hoping to be able to release it sometime this year, but I don't have an actual date in mind yet. More info to come.

Also, after giving my Trish model a simple rig I've found additional areas that need improvement, so I'm making those now. Once she's finalized, I'm hoping to find a professional rigger who'll give her the skeleton and skin weights she deserves. My own effort at painting skin weights convinces me that to become anything beyond poor I'd have to postpone other aspects of the project. I simply can't do everything and meet a reasonable rollout date. So, if there are proficient riggers out there who'd be interested in perfecting Trish, please let me know (the critical thing to bear in mind is that she's a dancer, so her joints have to deform really well). My email's at the bottom.

Lastly, in an effort to begin generating some public interest in the project I'm prepping a selection of concept art to post at CG Society. I've already updated the gallery of this website to match, so look for my work (orroborous) on cgsociety.org in the next week or two. That's about it for now.


Taps


1/2015

Well, the first month of 2015 has been a trying one. After painting my 3D Trish model, I installed a rig and got her set up for posing. What I didn't expect was just how difficult it is to get a model's joints to deform properly when repositioned (a discipline called painting skin weights). I'm not exactly sure what my solution will be. I can try a more robust rig or possibly outsource it and have a professional rig her properly. No matter which one I pick, there are still some things about the model that need to be addressed before she's really ready to use, so she's still in development.

In the meantime, the Soulstice 3D library has swelled to a respectable 43 props. I mentioned last time that I had EarthFleet all set up; and now I've got a fleet of civil ships for city skylines, plus a useful collection of EarthGuard ships (solar system patrol), as well as the beginnings of a few cities. Most of these new models are courtesy of the prolific Herminio Nieves (you rock, man!), whose bargain-priced works can be found on a number of websites including hns3d, cgtrader and turbosquid (this last under the username scifijunk). Thanks to these, I don't think I'll need more ships except for the Alliance vessels, which are strictly alien. So my next major effort will be creating settings for the story — alien planets and so forth.


Taps

12/2014

The website has been redesigned now that certain decisions have been made. Creating the main characters and props (starships, etc.) as 3D models has demanded nearly all my time over 2014, beginning with learning 3D packages and everything it takes to build a proper model for all possible uses. As of this post, my Trish model is built and in the process of being painted.

Once I'm done with that, she'll need hair and a skeleton rig so she can be posed. I've also built her a dance club that's ready to be UV'd for painting. I'm learning all of this as I go, btw (bows to almighty YouTube).

The EarthFleet ships are Allied Fleets 3D models by an exceptional designer on renderosity called Skynet3020. The Alliance Central station is from the NORAD collection on 3drt, and I have a number of other models waiting for their moments of fame. The biggies, though, have to be created from scratch. These include the Asherah (Trish's 7 kilometer-long mega-luxurious and uber-glamorous starliner) and certain other ships which are in the building phase with a ways to go. The Asherah itself is complex enough that I might need to seek help for the sake of time.

The Script

The full plotline of Soulstice has been outlined in detail, and the first three episodes are fully scripted. I'll be returning to the written aspects of the story once I have the 3D Trish model and her dance club completed.

'til next time...


Taps

 

Why describe the future
When you can shape it

 


Contact Michael:

orroborous at gmail.com

 

 

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