Tag Archives: Solemn Judgement

It Figures: Final Judgement

Because in the end, you need to show not tell

The second figure in my warm-ups for the Big Boys I mentioned earlier, and things are going pretty well overall. But I’m starting to feel my limits.


Final Judgement, Solemn’s father from Judgement’s Tale, is certainly one of the most influential characters never to make it into one of the Tales of Hope. He’s dead, you see, having used his last ounce of strength to get his son to shore and the relative safety of this new world in the very beginning:

At forest’s edge, the Gypsy band huddled and watched a boy on the seashore, burying his father.

-Judgement’s Tale, p.1

Final Judgement1Solemn has no idea what he is supposed to do now. He sets out to follow his father’s example, and draws encouragement from him throughout both stories, particularly when they speak again in the sequel The Eye of Kog. I know, I said dead. You’ll need to pick up the tale to find out.

In the back-story, Final Judgement was some kind of high ranking advisor to the king of a small European-style kingdom, in a place a lot like the past of our Alleged Real World. Widely learned, puissant in combat, and able to cast miracles with holy power, yet Final chose to keep Solemn and his two brothers ignorant of his own religious beliefs, since he was a member of some fiercely pious minority and despite his high position he feared persecution. Forced to flee the king’s madness, Final was only able to save his youngest son, making it to the sea and sailing east into another world. But his son only picked up hints and glimpses of this. On the voyage, he taught Solemn about every subject in the catalog, again excepting religion. It took two years and everything he had left in him.


Final Judgement4closeFinal Judgement points to the one idea most people in the Lands of Hope don’t want to talk about: namely, what happens after death. As Judgement puts it “what is its true sequel”: thanks to the liche Wolga Vrule, necromancy is “alive and well” in the Lands once again, and no one likes to think about the power to pull back a person’s spirit or animate their body against their will. But is there a heaven of some kind? Do the Heroes that the Children of Hope reverence have any future beyond the end of their lives? Like Solemn’s father, the Heroes never mentioned one. But as Judgement asks an Elven noble, to whom did the Heroes pray when they taught us to do likewise? Solemn Judgement believes in a life after death, and that his father looks down on all that he does in his adopted world. Hardly anyone he meets wants to talk about such subjects, and the Man in Grey makes few friends as he walks the length and breadth of the northern kingdoms in search of lore and answers.

The figurine is uncannily like Judgement’s father, bearing a sword (as Solemn confesses in Judgement’s Tale, he was never taught the sword, as it was a weapon for adults– Final taught him to use the quarterstaff instead), and also an early pistol (which Solemn shows familiarity with when he discovers one in The Eye of Kog). The overall dress of the figure is very Puritanical, and that certainly fits the story of Final Judgement’s eerily-similar homeland. Think Cotton Mather with the ability to cast holy miracles.


Final Judgement3This figure proved the old adage that much like life itself, it has to get worse before it gets better. The coat of grey primer wasn’t too far off from the finished product! But Final Judgement needed some color– on his skin, for example– and he was not as married to shades of grey as his son became. This time I cracked out my smallest paint brush, something I’d been resisting because I know the psychological consequences. Namely, now I have “nowhere to go” when the call for detail increases. But I wanted to try eyes and pupils, among other tiny touches, so out it came and I did fairly well. Lots of mistakes in the mid-game, going back over earlier colors to touch up, whoops, now touch up the other one. This can be a serious pain when you’re mixing virtually every shade and not able to get back to painting for days. Stuff dries out.

I find for most of the finish-work it was useless to keep my glasses on. Once the shade was Final Judgement4mixed I set them down and held the figure approximately five inches from my eyes, where my natural vision can still see clearly. It is an innately sad activity, bringing to mind the same mortality as Final Judgement no doubt experienced.

To take the pictures, I have had the devil’s time getting proper light on the figures down in my basement where the painting happens. I finally resorted to using my magnifier in front of the iPhone camera, with its internal light turned on! That brings the figure closer, retains focus, and puts a little light on the subject without washing it away like the flash does.

Final Judgement5

A very special thanks to the local Days of Knights store for their support as I restart an old vocation in painting figurines.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this excursion to other worlds and states of being. One more “test run” figurine in Vuthienne (another character who appears in The Eye of Kog) and then it’s on to the 32mm figs!


Spreading Hope: A Decision Matrix for ARW Heroes

On Independence Day 2016 I marked several milestones as the Chronicler of the Lands of Hope. Now I’m trying to entice you to celebrate with me.

Five Years at Work

TMM-croppedI was jotting and formatting, of course, for three years before that, but July 4th 2011 was the day I came out with e-books of Three Minutes to Midnight and The Ring and the Flag. I blogged about the exhilaration I felt at the time, and the memory of that emotion still pulls me along today. To soldier on, finish the next one, polish it up. So I can publish again (see below).




Coming to Paper

Back in 2011, I thought e-pub (and indie pub) was all there was to the world. But as soon as I signed on with Independent Bookworm, my often-out-there, always-right lady in charge started talking crazy. Something about splitting up my opus novel Judgement’s Tale into four novellas, and then bringing them all in paper publication. How 20th century, I thought…

Shards of Light II - 259x400Shows you what I know– now I can’t stop thinking about having books in my hot little hand, so I can sign and send them to folks who ask. And Fencing Reputation is out in paper this month, sequel to The Ring and the Flag that’s also been stamped onto recycled trees from last year. Half the Shards of Light series done and done. Plus I’m getting a better idea how and where to keep selling them locally.



A Major Tale is Completed

I gave myself the deadline of this July 4th also to complete the saga of Solemn Judgement, with The Eye of Kog. When I announced that drop-dead day, to myself in the mirror, I knew I had no chance of making it at the pace I’d been managing to that point. And I won’t claim it wasn’t close. But it is indeed done: a 195k sequel to a 200k opening novel, that is a lot of story-telling right there.  Still has to be edited, formatted, covered, and announced, of course; but my publisher knows what she’s doing. Well over a half-million words chronicled about the Lands. And I can move on now to finish the Shards of Light series, with “Perilous Embraces” and the finale, hopefully both by next Independence Day.LoHI_JT_GoC_Cover_front

So yeah, pretty big day for me.




Interested? Ways You Can Spread Hope

The “slow burn” in marketing is an attempt to ensure that each new step makes a little more progress than the last, until hopefully a critical mass builds and the effort starts to carry itself. I got started chronicling on the backs of some stalwart friends and family who gave me unfailing encouragement and support. There are dedicated fans of the Lands out there who have come back for more, and shown their support in many ways. I’m more grateful to you than I can say; my life is changed forever and I’m a happier man for it. Yet I keep meeting people who ask me about my book, because seeing my button that says “Ask Me About My Book!” was their first clue I was writing.

Now I want to ask help from everyone, all of you who know me, and people only you know.

Take a look at the Decision Framework I’ve updated. Find yourself by answering the questions (I hope they’re worth a chuckle too); then please spend some serious consideration on what may interest you and give me a boost. Oftentimes it’s not very hard to help: and you’ll find me willing to meet you half-way with loot for those who would consider entering the Lands, whether for the first time or with a new tale. More explanations below.

Lands of Hope Decision Framework


Review on Amazon

If you’ve taken the time to read one of my tales, I can’t overemphasize how much I need your review. We’re not talking about a deathless opus here. Just check into my web-page for that title, enter a screen-name and your thoughts. Two sentences easily does the job! You don’t have to write a page unless you’d like to. You don’t have to buy through Amazon to leave a review, either. And I only want your honest opinion, you can keep it anonymous and candid. And did I mention short? Just having a lot of reviews is the key; that’s when my books start to show up under that “You Might Also Like” banner. Have no fear, tell folks what you think, all honest reviews are crucially needed.

Read for Review

If you haven’t read one of my tales yet and think you might like to, I’m offering anyone a FREE e-book copy through the month of July, in return for your commitment to create a review as above when you’re done. Leave a comment below or use the Contact page to let me know your willingness and which title you would like. I can advise you on the length or ease of reading: several of my tales are quite short. Right now I need about 50 reviews on a title to get Amazon’s attention and I’m averaging around five. Everyone, please take advantage of this offer. Free book, quick review, easy-peezee.

Share with Friends

Everyone can do this, and I hope you’ll consider spreading the word about the Lands of Hope to others. Especially to others that you know, and I don’t. You can share this post with the buttons below, or maybe notify friends you’ve thought of who read fantasy/sci-fi, or who like heroic deeds with a little humor, characters to root for. This includes anybody who’s seen more than three episodes of “Game of Thrones” and is now walking around a bit shell-shocked, or shotgunning Xanax. It could be middle-school and high school kids on up to adults (and those pretending to be).

It’s easier to make a recommendation if you’ve had personal experience, so by all means Read for Review if you like. Either way, sharing the news with friends is free and I’d really appreciate the signal boost.

Be a Hero of the Alleged Real World

This is the part where you get to take action, and then in a year or so you’ll have proof that you knew me when! “Yep, I helped Will get his start, that little push you know, just how I roll.” You make me famous enough, and people will be asking for YOUR autograph.