Off the Chain With Tentacles

Hi Readers,

For those in the US, we hope you had a happy Fourth of July. For those enjoying the World Cup, we hope your team’s winning.

I’m rooting for Team Bear. Oh, my scribe just informed me there’s no Team Bear. 😦 Apparently, you need more than one spirit guide to make a team, and Bear has yet to introduce us to his noncorporeal friends.

(If he has any. We still don’t know for sure, but Bear hinted in Faceted, that there might be other spirit animals out there. Maybe I’ll collect them all. Or maybe not. Bear’s giving me that look again. We’ll see. Nothing’s final until my scribe pens it. )

Cover War Update

As for our book covers, the latest version from the Fiverr designer was so bad it made me mad. There was actual steam curling out of my ears. Papa found that amusing until Uncle Miren poured a bucket of water over my head. He claimed I was burning up and that water was a preventative measure, but Uncle Miren’s always had a flexible relationship with the truth.

Not to worry, Papa came to my defense, and so did his magic. It really doesn’t like water, and it might have zapped Uncle Miren’s rump. Papa was shocked his magic would do that.  And well, you can imagine how well my teenage uncle took that and who was on the receiving end of his anger. (Not me.) He eventually forgave Papa because how could you not?

Anywho, my scribe was not happy with the latest version, so she dove into 3D and rendered a scene from Faceted at my request. I might have drawn a stick-figure diagram to point her in the right direction:


Click here to read my humorous account of how that came to be and to see the render before our scribe photoshopped it a bit. (At my urging, of course. After 8 hours of rendering, I wanted to see what she could do with it. But it still has some flaws:

    1. Bear should be a ghost, i.e., transparent
    2. We’re not all looking at the same thing. So our eyes need some adjustments.
    3. We have no hair. It kept growing through our hoods, so when my scribe left her pc unattended to do some chores, I deleted our hair. We probably need an add-on to fix that.
    4. Our faces—we still need an expensive add-on for that and to settle on some stock faces for our faces. 😉
    5. It’s washed out.
    6. It might be too busy. (But I really want more tentacles. Melinda said no to that, though.)
    7. We’re not sure if we should zoom in more.
    8. The lighting—after hours of playing with it, something about it is still not right. We can’t put our finger on what though.
    9. The render creates a lot of noise, so we have to blur to get rid of it. We’ll double the render time to 16 hours to see if that helps, but that locks up the magical PC for 16 hours.

You can see the original render without all the effects here. We did remove the noise though because it was annoying.  Is there anything else we should address?

And lastly, before we return you to the adventure in progress, our scribe was interviewed on Off the Chain Radio.

Melinda and author Yvonne Mason had a wide-ranging discussion about us, our scribe’s late sister, Carolyn, (the one we dedicate each book to), and other topics. And we’ve been invited to join them next time!

Yes, us, the cast! We have no idea how that will work out since we have to borrow our scribe’s voice box so we can speak, but it will be an adventure. That we can promise you. Give it a listen here.


Last week, we saved our scribe, but now we need saving. We’re sort of caught in an inferno and only a hand made of dirt is keeping us from burning to death. Unfortunately, neither it nor Papa’s magic can do anything about the smoke we’re inhaling. And I’m feeling a little woozy.

If you missed an episode, all our back issues are conveniently listed in reverse chronological order here. If you’re looking for our books, they’re all here.

Our scribe’s working on book 5, Sundered. We’re still hoping for an August release, but we need to sort out our cover issues because bookstores require covers. So stay tuned.

Today’s Adventure

I coughed. Smoke and little boys don’t mix well even though I was breathing through Papa’s cloak. I’d covered most of my face with it because I thought magic-infused cloth might help. It wasn’t. Nor was Papa doing any better. He coughed so hard, he doubled over and only his magic held me against his back.

“Can you move this thing?” Auntie Sovvan asked as she reeled in our scribe one handful of jacket at a time. She didn’t seem to be affected by the smoke, but Auntie Sovvan wasn’t alive in the same way we were. That explained how she could haul our petite scribe up like she weighed nothing and sling Melinda over her shoulder.

“I’ll try,” Papa said between coughs.

I patted his back figuring it couldn’t hurt and to remind him it was time I returned my rightful place in his arms. Papa didn’t get that message. Neither did the dirt mound because it didn’t budge. It just kept dwindling away as it rained dirt on those fires below.

“Ah, J.C.? now would be an awesome time to open that portal,” I said.

No reply, just silence from our nonfictional friend, and Papa had gone still and quiet. That usually meant he was working on a plan. or the magic was talking to him. Since both were a good thing right now, I turned to Bear. He was cinched tight in my arms and still as lifeless as when the Easter Bunny knocked him out.

“Bear, can you help us?”

He didn’t answer, but through the blowing smoke, I saw those books swinging around for another go at our scribe.

“They’re coming back!” I shouted.

“I see them.” Auntie Sovvan said. “Why can’t they give up and bother another scribe? They’re on fire. What more do we need to stop them?”

I wedged Bear into Papa’s hood and pulled out my slingshot.  I’d run out of the metal balls I picked up in Enchanted (still free), but Papa has many pockets, and they’re usually full of glowing rocks. I squirmed, trusting his magic to glue me to his back, and it did. My hand slid into his pocket and withdrew a glowing stone.

“They don’t look like the same books,” Papa said.

I dropped the rock back into his pocket and righted myself so I could look over his shoulder again and lean on it.

“Is someone riding the middle one?”

Find out next week.

Deals, Giveaways & Other Cool Stuff

Amazon | Elsewhere

6956a906cc37048b5ec6b2da8f8c88b9 1e8ef3e207a85681f1bdd2ebe4d70e8d


Until next time, dear reader

This is your 3D host, Ran, son of Sarn, wishing you a great week!