Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Showcase: Road Rage!

Sirens blared and lights flashed in New York City as two kidnappers ran from the law.

                “Your timing sucks!” shouted the rough faced thug in the back seat. He struggled with a four year old girl they had just taken. “I told you this wasn’t right!”

                “Shut up and make that kid shut up too!” the weasley looking driver shouted back, “I’m trying to think!”

The idea seemed easy. All they had to do was take the Congressman’s daughter and demand a ransom.  Through stupidity, faulty planning or both, they did it in front of a lot of police out on the street. 

                “We’re gonna get caught, man!”

                “Shut up!”

They approached an overpass at high speed, weaving through traffic. Drivers watched in shock as they tried to find routes to get out of the way.

                “We have to lose these cops, man! This is a wash!” the backseat thug called out.

                “Oh yeah? Fine! Give them the kid!”


                “Toss her out the door! That’ll slow ‘em down!”

The thug pushed open the door and the girl screamed in terror. She clawed and clutched with all her might as the thug pressed her small body out the car door.

                “Don’t worry kid, you might actually survive,” the thug said with a final push.

Her body floated out into the air with the 90 mile per hour asphalt reaching up for her. On such a small body, the effect would be like a sanding belt on gelatin. Such a small child has no concept of death, only fear. She didn’t have time to process in her mind what was about to happen as her life paused for a critical moment. She saw the heartless face of the man that threw her and it appeared to be the last thing she would ever see. She didn’t have time to feel the arms that suddenly wrapped around her. She didn’t even have time to realize she was saved.

From the moment he heard the frantic transmissions to the time he arrived were literally a single occurrence. He wished he had heard sooner. He could have spared the little girl the horror of being tossed out of a speeding vehicle. At his speed, the world stands still. It stands still enough to bypass high speed traffic. It stands still enough to pluck a child from the grinding maw of death. A fraction of her heartbeat later, Electrode, the nuclear electric man, placed her in her father’s arms and sped away. 

                “Hey!” the backseat thug yelled, “The kid just disappeared!”

                “What? What do you mean?” 

Traffic slowed and they sped out across the overpass alone.

                “She can’t just disappear!”

                “Oh, man,” the thug pointed out in front of them.

The driver tried to veer and evade but it was too late. The dark funnel snatched their car spinning into the air. The screamed and g-forces pressed them. Wind deafened them and they couldn’t see anything. Suddenly, the wind stopped and the car dropped to the overpass with a crash. Windows shattered and the axle broke. 

A man’s body materialized a few yards away from them. He was tall, rugged and square jawed. He was Sandstorm, the elemental shape changer. Sandstorm scowled at the two men as they scrambled out of the wreck. The driver staggered to his feet and pulled out a small revolver. He aimed it at Sandstorm and squeezed the trigger several times. Only a noisy clicking resulted. 

“Missing something?”  Electrode appeared with a fist right under the driver’s nose. He opened that fist and dropped six bullets at the criminal’s feet.  Arcs of electricity danced between Electrode’s eyes.

“Power down, they’re finished,” Sandstorm called to his friend.

“So you creeps thought you’d just toss her out on the street, huh? Throw her out of a speeding car?” Electrode’s fist began to glow.

“Scott!” Sandstorm shouted his friend’s real name to get his attention as police moved in to take the thugs away.

“Okay, okay!” Electrode stepped back, remembering he is also an officer of the law with rules to follow.  As federal agents, he knew he couldn’t play judge and jury, but it was most tempting. 

Sandstorm and Electrode are part of the Parahuman Activity Commission (PAC), created by the FBI.  Every day, they use their amazing powers to protect and serve against super powered threats. For them this was just another day. Who knows what will come next?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Spotlight: Bards!

Bards are more than just the wandering minstrels of old. They do more in GZ than spread the news. They are powerful spell castors through the force of their music.

Bardic spells are similar in effect to mainstream sorcery except that it's considered a different source of magic. Because of this, a target that is immune to sorcery magics may not be immune to bardic magics.

Bards must use a musical instrument and require the ability to make sound in or to cast their spells. Each Bard picks a favorite instrument from the time he starts training. By they time they've learned most of their intermediate magics, they can make their instrument sound like most of an orchestra all at once.

There is a Bard's Guild run by King Jacob. In the guild, only bards of good alignment are admitted and they link their music to make their spells stronger. There is no requirement to join and not all Bards are interested. For example, Anubis and Horus learned to be Bards, but aren't members of the Guild.

Bards can have powerful effects on their surroundings. How powerful? Well, I went searching for music videos to help me make this point:

So if they get their "rock" on, you best watch out. There are many Bards in GZ and they use all sorts of musical style to work their magic. As you travel the GZ universe, keep your ear open for Bardic messages that may warn you of danger or send information. Yep, you may even have to decipher a song for messages.

Popular Bards are Maestro and Rockaria, but it doesn't stop there.

Coming soon: Showcases! A Showcase is a super short story about a character or group of characters! Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Spotlight: Minotaurs!

My first spotlight request is for Minotaurs and they are a very interesting race. I have several characters that are Minotaurs to include Red Rhok and Durgan. Maestro has a Demon/Minotaur named Fist who serves as a kind of bodyguard. There's even a vampiric Minotaur our there named, Viceroy who roams with a quartet of powerful villains. But what about the race in general?

Minotaurs in GZ are a nomadic race, scattered across the stars. Villages are rare to see and most take to wandering the universe or various worlds all their lives. In spite of that, they are fiercely loyal. Once a Minotaur dedicates himself to a cause or friendship, he puts all of himself into it. Unless their friend is also a wanderer, the wandering is over. They never leave their allies in a bad situation and may have to be killed to stop them. Durgan's lifelong friend is a legendary Faerie named Lilith. If you really want to see him in a deadly rage, threaten the Faerie.

Minotaurs are not without religion of some form. They have a god called, Brahmakar and he is always watching for Minotaurs who impress him. If one does, he gives them gifts. He may even make them a Minotaur knight with specially blessed equipment. To the Minotaur this is a holy gift.

Minotaurs are known for great strength and those horns aren't just for looking at. They can and will fight with them. They also come in three forms from distant tribes. The most common ones have either the legs of a humanoid or of a bull. The third and very rare form (nearly extinct) is built more like a Centaur with the body of a great bull, humanoid torso, and head of a bull. They have names for these tribes:

Manfoot: humanoid feet
Cloven: hooved feet
Four legs: for the rare type

As you can tell, they keep names pretty simple. You might wonder now, how such a nomadic race keeps their numbers up. In fact, they number in the billions across the stars. It's not as hard to find a mate as you might imagine.

All in all, the Minotaur is an amazing creature that dates back on our world to stories of myth and legend. In Galaxy Zento, those myths and legends are based on real visits by Minotaurs (and even enslavement of one by King Minos).

Hope you enjoyed today's spotlight on Minotaurs. Do you have a request?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Galaxy Zento News January

There certainly is a lot going on with the GZ project.  We’ve come a long way and there’s way more to do yet! But how far have we come now? Well, here are the stats:

Facebook: (as of this update) LINK
258 photos (includes 11 pics of the legendary table and 61 photos of the custom miniatures; the other 186 are all illustrations)
Photos also include the work of 3 guest artists and 2 requests.

DeviantArt: LINK
20 Watchers (that’s kind of like “likes” on FB)
223 of the same pics posted (not as many of the custom miniatures posted)
1759 page views in 2 months
3 guest artists are from DeviantArt
All of the in color work is available for purchase in all sorts of ways through DA. You can get photo prints, post cards, mouse pads, magnets, mugs and more.  Other venues are being considered as well.

32 posts
2 followers (that’s like watchers and likes) though I know many more are reading and viewing than that.

Anti-bullying poster that was posted with one online project and donated to my son’s elementary school. You can see me with my son’s Principal in the photo above.
Autism education poster shared on internet.

Mixed in with all of that are lots of awesome comments from all of you. Your support has been great and I thank you!

What I’m doing now: Currently I’m sending two GZ short stories to the Writer’s Journal fiction contest. Results will be posted when we get them a couple months or so.  I’ve finally ironed out the query letter (these things are not easy) and I’m sorting through a list of agents. Time to launch query letters!  I have a list of illustrations and I’m working through those as I go. As a special project for Black History Month, I plan to do some of my black characters. I’ve been asked a few times if I have them and yes I do.
Also on my artwork, I’m practicing more use of the digital program to touch up my drawings and get them into a cleaner black and white digital look before I color them in. You can see the results. Speaking of this, it’s time for…

SPECIAL PROJECTS:  I have a few meant to create interaction with GZ for many and any of you out there. Check these out.
Guest Artist: Always open and ready to challenge you. All you have to do is draw any of my characters in any medium you choose (from crayons to oil paints) and you’ll be featured on all mediums as a guest artist. If you are a professional or striving as such, I’ll make sure people know where to find out more about you. I only ask that there are no adult themes.  By posting all the digital black and whites, there’s even an opportunity for you colorists out there.  You can even print out a black and white from Deviant Art, color it, scan it and send it. It’s that easy so have fun!  For people with their own OC’s you can do your characters with mine and I’ll return the favor. Or draw one of mine and I’ll draw one of yours.

Spotlight Requests: Want to know more about one of my characters? Let me know and I’ll do a Spotlight Article in this blog! If I’ve already done it, I’ll get you the link.

Art Requests: I’ve already done Jojo versus Monolith and Durgan against a horde of demons. What would you like to see? Shoot me your request and I’ll work it into the schedule and see what I can do.

Characters: Recently, I was talking with CJ from DeviantArt and discussed the role playing game. CJ asked if he could roll up a character and so, after digging some stuff out of storage, I said okay. More on his character later. What I am considering is the possibility that others may have a character rolled up in the GZ universe.  I don’t have a lot of time for that right now, but it’s a consideration. Of course, all characters made for GZ are property of GZ and for entertainment purposes only.  Have to post that legalese ya know.  More on this as ideas develop.

BACK BURNER: The website is currently on the back burner. Just haven’t been able arrange the funds to launch it. It’s not cancelled, just has to wait until it can be paid for. Until then, there’s plenty of action going on.

So that’s the news for now. I hope you’ll continue to watch and be involved. As new stuff happens, we’ll be sure to let you know!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Spotlight: Helshred

Helshred is a member of the Chessmen and in my novel of the same Chess name. He's a character who's bound to get your sympathy vote and amaze you at the same time. I never realized just how much this would be true until I had a couple people read the story.

Helshred is a Teri-Moor, a race of beings with 3 eyes, four strong arms, and prehensile tail. In his picture you can see a jagged scar on his head. It's because of that scar, Helshred remembers nothing of his past before the Chessmen.

Helshred was found on a mountainside by Falconer, leader of the Royal Guard. Helshred's gauntlets were found to be permanent in nature; bonded to him. Once conscious he could only say what seems to be his name. He can say a few more words than that now.

Helshred proves to be a very special member of the team as they run in order to protect the infant Princess. At anytime, the Teri-Moor is ready to leap into battle with those intimidating blades and a shout of his name. I don't want to give away too much about Helshred, so to learn more you'll have to read the book and I'm seeking agents soon.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Down time

I've been quite a bit off course in down time recently because of health issues. I just want everyone to know that I'm still here and coming back on with a vengeance. There have also been setbacks, but that's just a fact of life, right?

As some of you may remember, I'm on a health journey. I've had two MRI's confirm that "something" is amiss. We've ruled out MS but we know "something" is still there and needs to be identified. I had a lumbar puncture this week to try and find out more. Oh, a lumbar puncture is where the put a needle into your spinal column to draw out spinal fluid to test for a variety of diseases, like MS and meningitis. No, we don't think I have meningitis. So, the journey for answers continues.

I also want to remind my friends that my sharing of GZ is more than just putting my characters out there and sharing their stories. It's about doing in spite of my medical conditions. It's about overcoming. That's why I also say that GZ supports autism education, and always will.

Now, with setbacks and downtime, good things are still happening. Guest artists and compliments from professionals have been a great motivator and just outright awesome. I'm definitely coming across a lot of awesome people as well. I am endlessly grateful. There are so many possibilities coming up with this and I am excited to see them develop. I'm excited to have friends see them develop right along with me.

So, please stay tuned, there is more to come and I will be hard a working to make it so! (Image is Durgan of the Iron Hand vs an army of demons, a work in progress sneak peek!)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Guest Artist CJ "StarGamerWorld"

It's time to bring another guest artist to light for his creative work in Galaxy Zento. I'm talking about CJ from Deviantart. You can see his page and inkworks HERE.

CJ has been interested and practicing in inks for over 2 years and he's been a member at Deviantart at least that long.  He lives and studies in Ontario.

CJ's favorite part of artwork is the ability to take a thought and give it life on paper. He does great inking work by they way.

In the illustrations I do and comic art, there are three stages to the process; pencils, inks, and colors. Often the three stages are completed by different artists in collaboration.  I do my own inks, but in this case, I took up the request to send a pic that wasn't finalized to CJ. He did the digital inks on the picture  of Voyager showcased here. I've already colored a pic of Voyager, but will be coloring in this one too.

This just goes to show, that guest artists need not limit themselves to drawing. It's okay to be a guest artist and ink or color as well!

I'm sure we will see some more of CJ's inkwork in the future and more guest artists as well. Thanks for getting involved CJ!