A Whirlwind Summer

     Once again, I’ve been terrible about upkeep on this blog. Maybe I just still suffer from the idea that I never have anything of real interest to say. But, that’s been far from the truth lately. Once an introvert, always an introvert I suppose.

     Anyway, I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted any real update. This will be a short post for now, but I will say that just as the title claims, I’ve been busy doing this, that, and the other this summer. And, really, that started in the middle of spring.

     I’ve got to admit, I’m not used to this much activity. I don’t know the last time that I’ve just relaxed, really. I’ve gotten to the point now that when I have a day to do absolutely nothing that I almost feel lost.

     Hopefully I will soon get back into updating this blog more often, but, for now, here’s a short recap of what I’ve been up to lately. And, if I can get my act together, I plan to do individual blog posts going into more detail with each of these things.

 


 

What has Kendrick von Schiller been up to?

     Well, so far this spring/summer I’ve had two book signings (and I just got word that I have another in October!). The first was at Barnes & Noble as a part of a multi-author event. My upcoming signing will be similar, though at a different Barnes & Noble. The second signing was at a unique little shop up in Tawas, MI and was actually a part of a larger event. Not to mention, quite impromptu.

     I finally got to see Disturbed in concert in May. What an incredible show! Though I will admit, after all the smaller shows I’ve been to throughout the years, it’s strange to attend an arena show now.

     In the middle of June I attended my first Renaisssance Festival as a vendor. And what was I selling? My book, of course! It was a much smaller festival than the one I usually go to in the fall, but it was great fun, and I didn’t do too bad at all with sales. It was a great experience. One that I intend to pursue again next year.

     The week after that I attended the same festival, this time just to visit, and ended up spending a good hour or so in a forge! Forge work and blacksmithing is something that I’ve always been interested in, so it was a unique and thrilling opportunity to try my hand at it and actually make something. Especially since I was dressed as an elf at the time. That’s not something you see every day.

     Throughout that week and into the week following the Fourth of July I stepped back from my own writing, and took the time to help out a fellow author. One of my friends from the big Renaissance Festival was having problems formatting his second novel and I offered to help. Formatting it definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, and I’ll admit that I wanted to pull out my hair when I formatted my own novel last fall. But, throughout that process of working on Sparks and Shadows, I learned a lot, and I figured that going through the process again would keep it fresh in my mind for when I have to format my second novel. I only found a little bit of frustration during the project, but I have to admit, even though I knew what I was doing, I still learned some new things! And got the gratification of being able to help out a fellow artist and author. We’ve got to stick together.

     And, one of my favorite things of all: I got to see something that I never thought I would get the chance to see in person unless I went to Norway. And that’s the largest recreation of a Viking ship, the Draken Harold Hårfagre. I don’t even remember how I initially ran across it in the first place, but I have been following their page since 2012 when it was still being built. So to see it in person was a dream come true. And let me tell you, it is incredibly impressive in person! Definitely everything I had hoped for and more. (I’ll definitely have a dedicated post to this in the upcoming weeks. After I go through all the pictures I took.) I was sad to see it go, and though it only just left here Wednesday morning, I miss it already.

     In the midst of all that, I’ve been slowly picking away at the chain mail shirt I’m making for the Renaissance Festival. At this point, I honestly don’t know that I’ll have it done in time, but that won’t keep me from continuing to work on it.

 

**~***~**

 

     So, that’s been most of the highlights of my busy summer thus far, and it’s not yet over. Who knows what I can get into next. Though I know for a fact that one of the things I need to return to is writing and getting the second novel of the Nyte-Fyre Prophecy series finished. So, here’s to that.

     If anything, the United States is in the midst of a streak of wickedly hot weather, so what better time than now to hole up in the house in front of the air conditioning and write?

     I will hopefully return here soon. In the meantime, what’s been the highlight of your summer so far?

~ Kendrick

Quite the Character

So, the Renaissance Festival (round two) is upon me again. Tomorrow is the day that I return to the 16th century.. at least I think that’s the age that supposed to be portrayed down there. Either way, I’m beyond excited. I’m going with a small group of friends and the weather is supposed to be perfect! None of that 58 degrees and rain that we encountered last year, and no 90 degree sweltering heat that we had last month. 68 degrees and partly sunny. Couldn’t ask for better.

Now,  I was all set to dress as a pirate, had my outfit all chosen and pieced together, and then creativity struck again. AKA I raided the assortment of dresses and whatnot in my closet for fun and found something I liked better.

A Faerie.

Yes, I said Faerie. But no, I don’t mean the super cute and sparkly kind. I put my own twist on things and I ended up with this.

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Bad Faerie? Warrior Faerie?

I’m going with warrior myself. And one of the coolest things about this outfit, and the reason that I have this post under the category of my writing is that this actually looks quite a bit like one of my characters – Saiva – who is, indeed, a Fae.

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Unrelated to the actual character of Saiva, I decided that if I’m going to go to the festival dressed as a faerie, even a warrior fae, I might as well do some crazy make up. Where else can you cover your face in blue eye shadow and be considered normal? I think it has a nice warrior feel as well.

And the reason I’m going as a warrior Fae? Simply because, one it looks cool, and moreover, I bought that spiffy sword the last time I was down there and I’m bound and determined to carry it on my person – even if they’re going to have to peace tie it.

There will be pictures of the full outfit with make up in an upcoming post.

Back to my characters though, I made mention a few posts back that one of my potential upcoming projects was to continue on my crafting journey and leather working and make a shirt of mail and some leather scale armor and dress as the villain of my novel. The thing is that I’ve never really thought of Zariah as ever dressing that way, but it was this cool image in my head, regardless. In truth, he’s a ShadowSaeg – saeg, meaning magic user in the world my book is set. So, rarely does he use actual weapons as he’s a very powerful magic user. I don’t even know that he owns a sword to be honest.

Either way, I would still love to go in great detail – even though I’m a woman – and do a full photoshoot playing Zariah. It will be a major process, that’s for sure. As I mentioned, I want to do the armor, but even if I don’t go in that particular direction, I will still most likely have to make at least the top half of the clothing that he wears. Along with that I want to create the staff he carries and I need to get a much better black wig.

Regardless, I threw caution to the wind yesterday and played around with the make up and the crappy black wig I do own – just to see how plausible this really is. And, let’s just say that I scare myself.

I present to you, the Shadowlord: Zariah Enderline.

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I obviously went into Photoshop and played a bit, but overall, I’m quite impressed with how this turned out. Probably the biggest change I had to implement digitally was changing my eye color from brown to the grey-blue that Zariah’s is, but it really does make all the difference.

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And there he is with his customary green fire that he is well known for.

Overall, I’m even more excited by this project now. If I work on it steadily, I might be able to go to the Ren Fest next year dressed as my villain and that excites me.

Lastly, just for the heck of it because one of my friends declared that my warrior faerie pictured looked like my main character, Kiyani, if he had wings and was a chick, I couldn’t resist. So, here is my take on Kiyani, which is actually pretty darn close, if he went wild and put some blue in his hair.

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All of that aside, the good news is that I finally finished my quick run through of the next section I pulled for edit for my novel and I am rearing to get back to work on it. I’ve made a bunch of notes to myself and have written some new little sections and have a lot of changes that I plan on implementing to make the story all that much better.

Excited!

Busy Like a Bee…

A drunk bee, maybe.

I feel like I’ve been so busy as of late, though doing what I’m not particularly sure. I definitely can’t say that I’ve had an overwhelming amount of down time, though.

Last Wednesday we went to a concert up north – Pop Evil, of course. Then the day after that we tooled around the U.P. (I live in Michigan, so that would be the Michigander lingo for the Upper Peninsula). It was so quiet and wooded up there – when you weren’t in the areas that drew tourists. We went to Tahquamenon Falls though and that was amazing. I love waterfalls anyways and nature, so that was perfect for me. I could have just sat there for days listening to the pounding of the water. Not to mention, too bad there were so many people up there, because that would have been an excellent backdrop for one of my silly self photoshoots. What can I say? I love dressing up and being weird.

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Speaking of which… finally picked a date for the Renaissance Festival – this Sunday! I’m so excited. I only hope that I have enough money accumulated to buy a decent sword. Only I would save up like crazy for a sword, but it’s something that I’ve wanted for ages. I guess it more depends on if I can find one that I actually like. Being an artistic soul I’m quite picky when it comes to anything with a design aspect to it… especially if I’m going to spend a good chunk of money on it. The good news is that my toe is doing a lot better now so I should be able to wear boots and not flip flops. Still have yet to decide what I’m actually wearing – I have too much to choose from – but I will settle on something.

Back on the topic of being busy though: Yesterday I looked at my still unfinished leather bracer project and had intended to get back to work on that. I plugged in my woodburner, intending to at least get the basic outline of my design on it and ended up looking up how to make leather scale armor instead. I cut out a number of scales just playing around with the idea and now my mind is swirling with additional projects to add to my list of things to do. I found that if I take black leather and carve a slight design into it and then dry brush silver paint over top of it it almost takes on a metal-like appearance.

Now, I still intend to finish my original bracer project by the Ren Fest this weekend, and it can certainly be done. But now I have an even bigger project set for maybe next year. I was actually joking with myself the other day that if I got a nice, straight black wig that I could possibly do a cosplay photoshoot of my ‘villain’ from my book, Zariah. Then yesterday when I was playing with my leather scraps, I came up with this idea to possibly do this black and silver leather armor for him and yeah, then I had ideas running up the wall. I think I can actually pull it off. It’ll take time and money, but if I actually put my mind to it and continue to find time here and there to play with the components I should be able to complete it by next year. And hopefully I will have my first novel out by then so maybe one or two people might be able to recognize the character. Either way, it would be fun, regardless of whether people recognize it or not.

This is a sampling of what I was playing with yesterday and what I mean by how awesome the dry brushed silver on black leather looks.

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Now, imagine a full tabard made out of ton of those black scales. I can see it in my head and it’s awesome. Not to mention, black and silver are my characters colors anyways so it works out spectacularly. I might even do a little bit of my own spin on a general leather scale tabard design and do an engraved kind of leather breastplate with the snake in the moon design I intend to do on my bracer. And underneath that would go my shirt of mail that I fully intend to make one day. It’s not that I don’t have the time, I just have to find the money to buy that many rings. But the rings I’ve been using are a dark blackish, silver, so ugh, that would look amazing. I’m going to have to add a category on here just for my art projects not related to my writing, because trust me, I’m sure you’re going to see a lot more posts regarding this particular project. Be warned.

Now, after all that excitement in my head last night I opened up Photoshop and had intended to do a quick sketch of Zariah in this armor that I created and well… I haven’t gotten to the armor part yet because I apparently can’t do simple quick sketches, but I’m now going to have to do at least two versions of this picture because I like the unexpected turn it took. While I was fiddling around with an nondescript background I ended up making a blob that looked like dark angel wings and I just went with it and copied that layer to the other side as well. The result was cool, but it also amuses me because this is probably one of the least angelic characters I have and one of the last I would have thought to draw with wings. Of course, he’s a magic user, so I never expected that I would be attempting to draw him in armor either. Regardless, here’s a preview of what I’m working on with that. It’s obviously not done, but I can tell that I’m getting a lot better drawing proportionately when I actually put my mind to it.

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So yes, that’s the mess that’s in my mind right now. So much to do and it seems so little time most days. Eventually I will find a way to get things done. Besides all that I’ve finally gotten back into some writing… nothing huge, but I’ll take what I can get at this point. I wrote a five page chapter piece for the second book that I might have already mentioned. I’m incredibly proud of that. I wrote my Dear Doubt post, which is something that I think I might print out and tape to my wall to remind myself to just let doubt go and just go with the flow when writing. Nothing is ever perfect, especially the first draft. I’ve got my outline for my next section up for edit on this first book and can probably finish that tonight. And then I’ve got to get down to work outlining my fourth book for the upcoming NaNoWriMo. Yes, it will take away a month of my time from my edit of my first book, but it’s a great exercise and I loved doing it last year so I don’t think I can pass up doing it again. Not to mention if you complete the 50,000 words you get a coupon for 5 free copies of your book from CreateSpace that I didn’t get to use last year. Those would be great for initial editorial copies of my first book to make sure everything is in order before the real printing spree begins.

So much to do.. so I guess I better get to it! The good thing is that I’m finally feeling that spark to write again.. no, not a spark, that itchy urge to get back down to things that I can’t possibly ignore.

Adventures of the Uncoordinated

Ugh, let me just put this simply: I am a danger to myself.

There. I said it. I fully admit that I am a clumsy, clumsy person, prone to accidents and with an overwhelming penchant for hurting myself in the most ridiculous of ways.

Maybe there’s a good reason why I plan on living out my life as an author. Sit. Write. And do not move. That seems to be when I hurt myself the least.

Of course, I know I won’t do that. There’s too many things that I love to do, but seriously… can’t I get a break once in awhile? I mean, come on… in the last few weeks I’ve: dropped my camera on my toe (not a small camera either), sliced up my thumb with an exacto knife, whammed my elbow on the doorknob of the bathroom, gouged a good sized chunk out of the heel of my my foot on the door jam of the bathroom (don’t ask) and the topper – pretty much ripping half my toenail off last night.

I finally decide to do good and get out in the garden to weed and as I was stepping over the fence to throw the weed pile in the compost pit I caught my foot in the chicken wire fence we have surrounding the whole plot to – well – keep the chickens out. Low and behold besides almost completing a rather ungraceful swandive into the dirt I ripped my toenail off. I will spare gruesome pictures… mostly because I don’t have any and also because (and I’m surprised by this) it didn’t even bleed. It’s just rather uncomfortable as a portion of my nailbed is exposed and it’s an awkward feeling. I’m not going to die from it or anything, but all I can say is that I’m glad it’s summer because that toe is definitely not going into a shoe anytime soon without a fight and some relative pain. Something I would rather avoid altogether.

Is is bad though that even with my toe all jacked up and making me feel slightly nauseous if I sit and actually think about it all I can think about is the possibility that I might not be able to wear my awesome pirate boots to the Renaissance Festival? Please don’t make me wear flip flops… do you realize how out of place that looks and feels in a place like that – especially to someone like me who lives to dress up like that and not be looked at strangely for once? Ugh. Dilemmas.

In the meantime I suppose I will sit my but firmly in this computer chair and write and work on my digital painting. Hopefully I can’t find a way to hurt myself doing that. Maybe I shouldn’t buy a sword at the Ren Fest… yet, strangely enough, I’ve never hurt myself with anything like that – probably because I’m extra careful. No, I seem to find ways to effectively hurt myself in the most mundane of ways.

… Ok, I lie. There’s a large book sale going on today that I can’t force myself to miss and tomorrow we’re going to an outdoor concert festival. My poor toe. I guess I’ll just hobble around and be as careful as possible.

Yet, my authorial mind still uses this experience… thinking that, hmm… tearing off nails would certainly be an effective method of torture. I have a terrible mind, haha.

Fall is coming!!!

So, yes, it’s still July, but only for two more days. And, really, Halloween is closer than you may think. Though on days like today – cloudy and overcast with a bit of nip in the air – you can definitely feel that Fall is just around the corner. Not that I mind. I love summer, with the sun and the ability to wear tank tops and shorts and not freeze your bum off. However, I’m getting ever fonder of Fall as the years roll on. Not only does it encapsulate Halloween – my favorite holiday – but it’s also a great time to sit on the porch, rolled up in a fuzzy blanket and drink hot tea or hot chocolate. I’m drinking a hot pumpkin spice tea right now as I burn incense. And then there’s the clothing. Ok, I love shorts and pretty much hate the mere mention of socks, yet as much as I love summer I seem to have quite the collection of pirate-esque and military inspired coats and jackets as well as a growing abundance of boots.

And, speaking of pirates… another thing that the Fall holds… our annual Renaissance Festival!!! This is something that I think about pretty much all year round, and the sad thing is that I don’t even need to peruse the Halloween costume box in the basement anymore to find a decent costume. It’s amazing what I can find just in my closet. Now, I don’t have full on ren dresses hanging in my closet, but that’s the fun part of choosing a costume – most of what I wear doesn’t look all to period clothing on it’s own. It’s all in what you mix and match together and how you layer things. Though the Ren Faire is still a month away – depending on when we go – and I have plenty of time to change my mind, I’m probably going to stick with the pirate/gypsy outfit that I was playing around with. The thing that I realized while taking these pictures is that there is a very, very fine line between pirate and gypsy. I think the hat makes all the difference, yet I wish that I had a nice black leather one that blended better with the outfit.

(By the way, another of my hobbies – when I’m not writing – is to dress in strange outfits and go outside, set the timer on my camera, and basically do a photoshoot. I’m a little on the strange side if no one has yet noticed. But it’s fun nonetheless.)

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I’ll just post a few of my favorite photos I managed to get – though I took about 200.

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If anyone is actually interested in more pictures from this photo set, feel free to check out my DeviantArt account. I uploaded more on there. The link is in the ‘About Me’ section of this blog.

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And because I’m crazy that way, have one more that I couldn’t resist playing around with in Photoshop.

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As you can see, I have a little too much fun with these. But, hey, what’s life if you can’t have a little bit of fun and laugh at yourself now and then.

I think I can easily blend into the medieval crowd at the Renaissance Festival in this getup. Sadly, my biggest problem with going to the Faire every year is that I actually have too many possible outfits to choose from. If I had the money I would just go every year. I always joke with people that I’m just going to live down there… at least they all seem to think I’m joking. If that place was open all year round I probably would live down there. My latest thing is that I really want a gypsy wagon – you know, those awesome houses on wheels, all filled with gorgeous colored silks and glass, pillows and lanterns. I’m thinking that I’m going draw up a few designs this winter when I’m not writing and make it a project with my dad next year to actually go about building one. I would definitely live in it during the summer. I could keep my typewriter in there and write as well without the constant distraction of internet. I don’t know why – and those that follow me on here will learn really quick – but I’ve always been drawn to older things. My wooden longbow, my typewriter, and my passion for the Renaissance Festival are just a few examples. I think what I love the most about the Ren Fest is just the overall atmosphere of the place. It’s strange because I’m prone to panic attacks, especially in large crowds, and that place gets crowded, yet I’ve never been bothered there. I think it’s just the music floating on the air and the type of people – all dressed up as well, having fun – that makes me forget about all that. So can’t wait to go again. And the best thing is that I have free tickets this year. I don’t know yet if they’re all going to friends and family or if I will be able to go more than once. That is yet to be decided. Either way, looking forward to the trip. And though I’m still in the process of saving money for this annual venture, I’m really looking to purchase a real longsword this year. Of course, I have plenty of people ask me why… what are you going to do with that? Do you really need it? Well… no. I’m very well aware that that is a purchase that falls under the want not need category, but we all have our wants. I just love the idea of owning a sword that isn’t plastic, not to mention it would look fantastic in my photoshoots.

That being said, I need to go relist a bunch of stuff on Ebay. I’ve got a month yet to collect funds for my Ren Faire fun. One of these days I would love to go there and just go on a complete balls out, money is no issue, shopping spree there where I just buy whatever catches my fancy. Alas, this year will not be it. Maybe in the next few years when my book is out to the public and making money. My biggest goal – one that was meant to happen this year but fell through – is to self-publish my novel and sell it down at the Ren Fest. I figure that that is an excellent place to sell a fantasy novel.

I think that is all for now. Just be prepared… Fall is coming, which means that there will likely be plenty more posts like this one declaring my love for the season and all that comes with it.

Now, as for my hobbies other than writing, I was just starting to get into leatherworking the other night. My first little project as I play around and get the feel of it is a small arm bracer that I was going to burn a design on with my wood burner. Well, I got as far as cutting out the basic pattern and punching a few holes before I realized that I had sliced up the tip of my thumb – must have been while I was changing the blade in my exacto knife. *Sigh* The troubles of the crafter. So, as much as I want to return to that, I’m attempting to give myself a few days to let my finger heal – it’s a small cut, but it hurts like a bitch. Try not using your thumb on your dominant hand… not easy.

However, with the chill and the cloudy weather, I do believe that this is the perfect kind of day to sit myself down at the computer and attempt to get myself back into some writing. Hopefully I will be met with satisfactory results.