Ren’s Month Report, Jan 2011

What have I been doing this month?

Just one of the water demons that Kazimir and Sophie must hunt and destroy.


Sheesh, it sort of feels like that’s all I’ve been doing for the last two months since Chila Woychik signed me up to illustrate a story in Port Yonder‘s upcoming Elven Anthology … So, let’s see what I have to show for it.


Sophie, from the short "Tools of the Trade"

When I signed onto the elf anthology project, I thought I knew about them – tall, tree-dwelling, capes, bows and medieval clothing. All in the Tolkien spirit. Well, when Chila sent me the story, I was in for a serious re-education. Who would have thought of elves living in Kansas City, Misourri back in 1899? Yep, Kazimir is a bonified elf in a duster coat with plans to build the ultimate water demon hunting weapon… a flame thrower.

Kazimir from the short "Tools of the Trade". He's an elf in a duster coat, out to build the ultimate water demon hunting weapon... a flame thrower.

But never fear, I have still done some work on my own stuff. Being in art mode, I finally finished the Blade of Fire which appears in Forger of Dreams. I have had this piece in process for … um, … I’ve lost count how long, but at least a couple of years since I know I started before I moved to Texas. The color, quantity of gems and details made it a tedious process. In tedium, it surpasses all but Serena’s hair. Drawn on 11×14 paper with Prismacolor pencils. This is one of 5 swords that Sagon makes for remaking reality. However, of all the swords, this one carries the most sadness and pain. For him, it is forever stained. His first true triumph and yet his most tragic creation.

Meanwhile, I have also tackled one character of Hall. He actually has a couple of names since he doesn’t like his birth name, but most often he goes by Cat. I know, I know, I’m weird. A guy name Cat? But that’s far from the only odd way I have with names. I have a girl named Ezra. And Diane tells me that Ash is a guy’s name but I’ve used it for a girl… alas, I guess I’m a lost cause since I don’t think I could handle name changes. They’ve had these names for over 10 years. I don’t remember how I settled on Cat and Ezra, but Ash was from a friend naming the character.

So, anyways, here’s the drawing.

Not necessarily "done" but I think it's close

I’ve actually drawn this character before. I think he’s a tricky one for two reasons; one because he’s shows a half-smile to the world filled with scoff, sarcasm and attitude, but he has the dark side too. Everything is a game, but despite the smile, he’s deadly serious in playing it. If you’ve read my 20 Questions on Hall, you saw that I marked Cat as my favorite in that book. I think it’s because of the mix. It intrigues me and is fun to drive him to extremes. In that book he falls in a muddy swamp and ends up laughing, but he also sets a building on fire… one with people in it. He wrestles with Nehea and puts is life at risk to save the group… then later betrays them. He’s definitely one of what I call my “wildcards”.

Renegade Project

I launched the Renegade Project early this month and we’ve been having a blast! The timing has been a little crazy and faster than expected, but it keeps me on my toes and keeps me writing in bursts. It has me constantly brainstorming and adapting the story, which is probably one of my favorite parts of writing. We’ve gotten through 6 segments of the story and I’ve already started opening for people to suggestion options. We definitely have some creative minds at work and it’s fun to all the logic and rationale involved. Espionage, domestic chaos, family drama and suspicious secrets, yep, we’ve been having fun. Oh and don’t forget the secret band of kickass monks.

I’ve committed to run the game at least for 6 months (that would be June), with of course the disclaimer that if I get a publishing contract in that time and get slapped with a deadline then we’ll have to see. However, I don’t particularly see that happening. Besides, I really know what’s gonna happen. Unlike planning a book, I really don’t know what will happen. So, play on, play on!

Hall of Masters & Jeweler’s Son

Hall is still sitting in a deep stack of manuscripts awaiting Jeff’s attention over at Marcher Lord. I have another publisher that I’m gearing up to submit it to… but have been wrestling with the submission package, again.

Jeweler’s Son is the short story I submitted a while ago. The publisher said it’s not quite right for them and gave me some feedback with an invitation to submit again. So that’s what I intend to do. However, it’s been a while since I’ve visited Sagon’s world. It’s been difficult to get back into it.

I’d say I’ve done well in my goal of helping my Husband rearranging the house. It’s been a lot of craziness. We got some carpet down in the garage so the kids can have a better play area and we’ve moved all the desks around again to hopefully have a better area for schooling. Now all I have to do is put all the misc. stuff back and re-childproof the area.

Well, I won’t say that’s all I’ve been doing, but it’s enough for this update. So what have you been doing this month?

About Ren Black

Part-time novelist. Weekend artist. Full-time Mother. Ex-poet. Perfectionist by training. Compulsive researcher sporadically. Prone to fits of linguistic commentary Unorthodox Renegade occasionally. Sarcastic by habit... Dreamer Always... Consider Yourself Warned

6 comments on “Ren’s Month Report, Jan 2011

  1. Your drawings rock :). LOVE the water demon. And I have to say, the drawing of Kazimir always makes me think of Dr. Who. With Elf ears ;).

    And I can relate to the feeling, as I’ve been working on my own illustrations for that anthology. I’m honored that we’re going to be sharing pages of the same book!

  2. i’m amazed and thrilled at the quality of both writing and artwork in this anthology. exciting! ren, please know how appreciated you are!

    • My writing in the anthology? Didn’t think there was any… or do you mean that bio to put next to my mug (neither of which I’ve done yet…). Hmmm, perhaps a heavy flair of fiction could do nicely there – good suggestion…

      And thanks – I’m thrilled to be part of the project! I just find it ironic to have my art published before my writing and solicited no less! I proudly admit that I’m undisputably biased, but I think my writing is better. It’s just not as much eye-candy…

  3. no, i was speaking of the collective “writing and artwork” in the whole anthology but i definitely love yours. 🙂 i have no doubt your writing will be published someday too, though i haven’t seen any of it yet. keep up the great work!

  4. I am thoroughly impressed.
    I have very little to show for my creative efforts over the last couple of months. Been plugging away on the manuscript I started during Nano, that’s about it. Hoping to finish it in time to submit it to the Genesis contest, but I’m discovering a disturbing lack of motivation and discipline on my part. And I can only blame it on work and pregnancy for so long… 🙂

  5. Your art sings. Thank you for sharing it.

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