Tag Archives: The Eye of Kog

It Figures: Vuthienne

Because in the end you need to show, not tell.

The third of my so-called “warm-up” pieces in the return to painting showed me some cheering success, and some warning failure. Fitting that it was a female figurine…


Vuthienne is Primara of the lost city of Oncario, a significant supporting character in the upcoming novel The Eye of Kog. Her city, hidden in chaos deep in the Percentalion, is home to a thriving post-medieval economy and the gateway to Reghalion, the capital where the destiny of this kingdom will finally be decided. I tease her appearance at first, and it’s some time before Treaman and the party lay eyes on the city’s leader and the lover of their friend Januelus who brings them to her presence.

vuthienne1The door opened behind one side of the throne, and Treaman saw then, what they all had waited for.

His first impression, as he stood with everyone else for the Primara, was one of striking beauty. Vuthienne was tall and long-limbed, with a lustrous shock of red-brown hair spilling around a golden circlet and a slit scarlet gown that left no doubt about the breadth of her curves. A smooth and unhurried pace allowed no choice where everyone should look, for whom everyone should wait to speak.

-The Eye of Kog, Downfall


Vuthienne is important to the plot of the tale in ways that don’t make it onto paper. The careful reader can gather hints of her power and policy and the way things have moved because of her presence. I thought it was very important to paint her, because that makes me spend more time thinking about those “background scene” issues. I’ve just received the galley from editing and will be able to read more closely now, with things I’ve learned while contemplating her figurine. Crazy, fine, you don’t have to believe me. But it’s true– I know her better now.

Vuthienne took up the rule of Oncario after her father’s death and wanted to return the city vuth1to its days of glory. Cut off from trade, she decided to take up the Scepter of Law, which in custom is only wielded by the descendants of Areghel the king. The artefact continually sparks and pains her (something Treaman experienced when he briefly held the Sword of Air), but with its abilities Vuthienne was able to expand the physical boundaries of the city-state out into the chaos, and bring increased fertility to the crops, greater efficacy to the key industries practiced within the city. Thus even before the ruin of Oncario, Vuthienne was sacrificing her life for her citizens. This informs the cruel choice she must make at the end of the novel, when the Eye of Kog also falls within her ambit and brings her to heroic ruin. Yet Vuthienne’s unhesitating courage, and the masquerade she conducts to pull off her ruse, are key to any hope for Treaman’s party when they are captured by the undead. Spoiler-alert? The tale will be out soon.


Since I’ve restarted my painting hobby, this section deals mainly with the use of the brush, not the camera. Vuthienne proved remarkably difficult to undertake, and I wasn’t fully successful. Let that be a lesson to me when I try for the big-figs next.

First off, I just didn’t have the right colors and my attempts to mix what I needed were comic failures. So I’ve added another half-dozen bottles to my growing palette (you can get them on ridiculous sale at the craft stores if you watch) and in a couple of cases just took the shade straight-up, which simplified matters greatly. Her clothes and adornments are fairly well described in the text so that was a good guide. Vuthienne is shown here before she took up the Scepter of Law or tried to wear the Eye of Kog, so you see the staff traditionally used by the Primara of Oncario in her hand.

vuth3That was my first minor success: you can’t see it in the picture, but the top of the staff shows Solar, Unal and Aral and I was able to put the proper colors on each. The sun disk at the top is gold-on-bronze, nearly invisible to your eye but it’s there. Beneath that the smaller disk of Unal is in silver, and the crescent-slice of Aral is in silversteel. Nice bit of detail work, but my camera skills were not up to the brush: I discovered that I can show more of a portal-view by letting the disk of my magnifying lens show in frame, so I have a few shots like that this time. Just couldn’t get close or bright enough to reveal it, you’ll have to take my word.

The biggest failure, of course, was the face. I aimed to shade her fair, noble skin tone with just a light blush around the lips and cheeks, but failed disastrously. It looks like cake make-up to cover wrinkles, it’s thicker than clown face. Plus, I didn’t realvuth6ize it, but any figure with an open mouth immediately looks undead! Check it out, I was definitely fighting and losing an

Created with Nokia Refocus

uphill battle here. Several attempts did little to improve matters. Also I could not get the white around the pupils to show, the smallest dot I could make still looks like she’s a spice-addict from Dune. Had to cut my losses again.

The typical black wash technique and a little dry-brushing worked well to make the gown and hair look a bit more realistic. I tried for a cloth-of-silver effect with her green strophion, but metallic hues don’t dilute readily and I couldn’t stop it from clumping. I was shading at first, dry-brushing near the end! But it was stubborn; still the effect is there I’d say.vuth4

Another aspect of this figure that made it tough to shoot was her stooping posture. Vuthienne quite literally casts shade at herself, and if that’s not a metaphor for the action of the plot I don’t know what is.

So once again I come away from an encounter with a beautiful woman both edified and embarrassed, which is the story of my life. I hope you’ve enjoyed Vuthienne here and will look her up in The Eye of Kog when it publishes. You don’t see her right away, nor for long enough if you ask me, but she’s worth it. Shevuth-jan1‘s on my display shelf near a werewolf character for some inexplicable reason… and also up there are Final Judgement and the Bell-Ringer, my latest additions to a collection long stalled by the needs of the Alleged Real World. Next up, the Big Three!

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.