There’s this fun site I’ve been playing with for the last year that I want to share with you. It should be of interest to writers, artists, and anyone interested in how quickly technology is advancing. I’ve been using it for approximately the last year to come up with inspiration for new characters for my primary storytelling setting, the western-steampunk Creedverse, and I think you’ll enjoy it, too.

The site is called “This Person Does Not Exist.”

I mean, that’s perfect for fiction, right?

The site does one thing, and it does it well. It generates realistic images of people using thousands or maybe millions of photographs. Most of the images look real, though you will find digital artifacts and strange backgrounds in some pictures. Every time you reload the page, you’ll get a different face, and you can right-click on any image to save it. (Remember to add “.jpg” to the end as well.)

Occasionally, I’ll even see a face that reminds me of one of my characters. I’ll save it, run it through an art program to make it look like a painting, and add it to my series bible. To see what I’m talking about, check out these pages for Amber Dove Hattie Keane and outlaw Corwin Blake.

Here are a few images I generated today.

 

 

Whether you want to come up with unique characters of all races for stories or art, or if you just want to check out this crazy software for fun, I hope you enjoy it. Technology can be a wonderful tool to exercise your creativity. With this site, you’ll feel like you’re taking a peek into another universe.

What would you use this site for? Feel free to share in the comments.

“Creativity is just connecting things.” ~Steve Jobs

P.S. Remember, you can get my novel, Bodacious Creed, right here!

Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western

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A New Giveaway

 

Do you love Disney’s The Mandalorian?

I sure do, and it bears some big similarities to what I write. Both The Mandalorian and Bodacious Creed are essentially science fiction westerns.

Russell Nohelty and a bunch of authors and creatives, myself included, have co-sponsored a giveaway of Mandalorian swag. And guess what? It’s running right now, during Star Wars Week, 2020! Tomorrow is Star Wars day, May 4, and the next is May 5, or Revenge of the Fifth.

You can enter the giveaway here:

 

https://www.russellnohelty.com/giveaway/mandalorian/

 

By entering, you’ll have a chance to win a bundle of Mandalorian toys, books, and more. Even if you don’t win the big haul, you’ll get various digital freebies from the contributors later, when the contest is over.

Happy Star Wars Week!

“I’m A Mandalorian. Weapons are a part of my religion.” — Dyn Jarren, the Mandalorian

 

Bodacious Creed Minis

In a recent post, I shared the miniatures I created on Hero Forge. These are the four primary characters in my novel, Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western. It was a lot of fun creating them. I wanted the actual figures to paint and display, so I ordered one of each.

They came today! I had to share these with you. They’re excellent quality and very detailed. From left to right, we have James “Bodacious” Creed, Anna Lynn Boyd, Rob Cantrell, and Jonathan Johns. Even the cat on the stand with Anna is a character in the novel.

I know that Creed and Cantrell look similar because they each have beards, but their faces actually are different. And after I’ve painted them, the differences will be even clearer. As a sort of zombie, Creed has very pale skin.

 

Handling Shelter in Place

How are you handling shelter in place? I hope the answer is, “By staying home as much as possible, going out for necessities only, and wearing a mask as well as maintaining social distance when I do.” That’s my story. I feel lucky that I have a brain that’s suited to this kind of life. I’ve been productive at my online day job, making great progress on my current novel, Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake, taking advanced writing and marking classes, making sure my son does his schoolwork every day, and more.

I still wish there were more hours in the day. There’s always so much to get done. But I’m working hard, and working smart. Those Pomodoros are really helping!

If you’re not already keeping a journal, now’s a good time to start. In the future, you may want to look back and remember how crazy life was during this time. We should never forget the lessons we’re learning during this pandemic. Saving lives is worth a little inconvenience. Healthcare for all matters because the health of one person affects many others. Wash your hands for a minimum of twenty seconds. Giving the Vulcan “live long and prosper” hand gesture is safer, and even more respectful, than shaking hands. Reading is a great way to pass the time.

What are you learning during this time? What lessons do you hope others get from the quarantine?

Until my next blog post, as they say in Mid-World, long days and pleasant nights.

“And will I tell you that these three lived happily ever after? I will not, for no one ever does. But there was happiness. And they did live.” ― Stephen King, The Dark Tower

It has been quite a good week for me. It seems wrong to say that in a way, due to the crisis that the world is going through, but I think it’s about making the most of the situation. We’re stuck indoors, but there’s a lot you can get done while sheltering in place.

Hero Forge

 

How did this site exist for so long, and I didn’t find it? Last week I finally learned about Hero Forge, a site where you can create custom miniatures for tabletop gaming. Back in the 1990s, when miniatures were still mostly made of pewter, if you wanted one that closely matched a character you were playing in D&D or another game, you were out of luck. You could find a dwarf warrior, or a human wizard, or whatever else, but they’d never match closely enough.

Hero Forge gives you all sorts of choices, from faces to proportions to clothing. There are a bunch of races, including cat and bunny people, plus horns, tails, wings, tools, mounts, and so on. Most of the choices are in the fantasy genre, but there’s more, including science fiction and western options.

So, you can bet I created the two main characters and two main supporting characters from my novel, Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western. The site allows you to take screenshots to share as well.

Here they are, James “Bodacious” Creed, Anna Lynn Boyd, Rob Cantrell, and Jonathan Johns, aka Jonny.

You can purchase a downloadable model for $7.99, or order the high-quality, 3D printed figures for $19.99 each. Oh yes, if you add a mount, like a donkey, horse, or motorcycle, that will cost more, but there are several options and they look really good. I was impressed with how clothing, hair, and the like shift as you add different options, such as a backpack.

If you can afford it during this crisis and you need a personalized figure for an RPG or just because, I highly recommend making and ordering a figure. Otherwise, just have fun with it. Head over, create a free account, and let your imagination run free.

 

The Power of Tomatoes

 

Pomodoro is the Italian word for tomato, and a Pomodoro technique is a powerful productivity method. I heard about this a few years ago but I finally decided to try it. You see, I recently took a novel-writing course created by Russell Nohelty titled Write a Great Novel. Yes, I’ve written novels before, but there’s always something new to learn, and I learned a lot from this course. It’s free, and I encourage novelists, new and experienced, to take this class, too. It took me about three days, so it’s not a ton of work, but you’ll learn a lot.

In the section titled Getting your mind right Russel talks about the Pomodoro technique, and that convinced me to finally give it a try. It works like this. You set a timer for twenty-five minutes. During that time, you do one thing intensely, such as write your story or book, write a blog post, study for a class, draw, or whatever it is that you want to do in a productive way. After the twenty-five-minute block is over, you stop and take a five-minute break. Then, you do it again. After three or four Pomodoros you can take a half-hour break before you do more.

Of course, maybe you only have time for two or three of these, and that’s okay, too. You’ll be stunned at how much you accomplish. When I tried this two days ago, in an hour and a half, I wrote two-thousand three-hundred words of Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake! I was busy with other things yesterday, but in one Pomodoro, I wrote a detailed outline of the next several chapters, which I plan to get to today.

This blog post? One Pomodoro. And I still have a minute left on it.

So, those are the most interesting things that I wanted to share from the past week! What are you working on? Feel free to leave a comment below! (I recently learned that I needed to open comments here, so you can now respond.)

“I kept always two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in.”
–Robert Louis Stevenson

 

In general, I like to have a single topic to write about in my blog posts, then maybe to share a couple of extra things at the bottom. This post is going to be a hodge-podge of stuff. Things are so different now during the COVID-19 pandemic, and I have various things I want to share. Maybe when I get these down for you, it will free my mind to come up with some bigger things to write about.

Feel free to skip any section that doesn’t interest you.

 

Life During the Pandemic

 

If you’re like me, you get scared every time you have to go out for an essential task, like getting groceries. I have a full-time writing job that I get to do from home, and have for the last five years, and I know I’m lucky. Before COVID-19 started spreading, I was also doing Uber Eats about two hours a day. Yes, I’ve stopped doing Uber. I did it for about a week into the pandemic, and then I just got too uncomfortable. Some people weren’t observing social distancing. I witnessed restaurants where people were crowded together as though they were all getting into an airplane. This means I’m making about $30 less a day, so I’m looking for small writing gigs to make up the difference.

Being an introvert, anyway, I’m Okay staying at home. When my son and I do have to go out, we have masks that my mom made and sent to us. I maintain at least 6 feet of distance from anyone I see, wear my mask, have my son wait in the car, use hand sanitizer when I get back in the car, and disinfect our groceries as soon as we get home. I hope all of you are doing the same.

My local writing group is now online, which is great! We had a three-hour Skype meeting the other day. There are so many good writers in that group. I enjoyed hearing chapters from everyone else’s books, and I read the second scene from Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake, my current novel and sequel to Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western.

How are you handling social distancing and sheltering in place? How do you think this will change culture and society? Please feel free to share below.

 

Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake

 

Yes, I’m working on this novel! I used to write books by knowing the characters and setting very well, then figuring out the story as I went along. Yes, I was a pantser. Now, I’ve learned to outline, and while I still have to figure things out as I go, I have a structure to fit it all into.

I recently outlined the major beats in this novel and am busy writing it. I have a lot of other writing to do for work, so sometimes I don’t get done as much as I’d like, but it is coming along. I’m on Chapter 2 now, moving toward the “inciting incident,” where the status quo changes and Creed’s real adventure for the story starts.

For those of you who are writers and artists, what are you working on? Are you using this period to get to some of your personal projects? Hey, if not, that’s all right! We’re all dealing with the pandemic in our own way.

 

When Will Disneyland Open?

 

For that matter, when will the world open? But this is my question because I live a mile away from Disneyland. We don’t live in the most upscale place in the world, but we do live in a nice apartment in a middle-class, gated community. We have a pool here that I assume will be safe to swim in at some point.

For the last few years, I’ve considered having Disneyland annual passports a cost of living here in Anaheim. If you lived here, you might, too. My son and I had been going often, sometimes just for a few hours after he gets out of school. On our passports, parking was covered, so often I’d only pay about $6.00 to get Clark an ice cream, and we’d go on several rides, enjoy the atmosphere, then go home.

It just feels so weird knowing that Disneyland is closed. More than anything, that’s making this very real for me. I mean, our passports expired just before shelter in place started, but it doesn’t even make sense for me to renew them until this blows over. I know, I’m lucky at the moment that this is the thing that makes it seem the most real. None of my friends have gotten sick. I hope it stays that way for a long time.

Let’s face it, this period is pretty surreal. What makes it seem real for you?

 

Writers: Read This Book

 

Back in January, I got to go to Pasadena Comic-Con, and I’m so glad I did. I met author Russell Nohelty and purchased two of his books, including How to Become a Successful Author. I’m just 40% into it, but wow is it packed with helpful information! Russell lays out so much about how to churn out good books, how to build your audience, why you want to write several interlinked book series, and much more. If you’re a writer and struggling to build your career, read this book. It will help you from making tons of mistakes, as I have. I wish this had existed (and that I had found it) twenty years ago.

That all for now! Again, I’d love to hear from any of you in the comments.

Disclaimer: The book links herein use my Amazon Associates account, so I get a tiny bit of any purchase made using them. I don’t think that’s a big deal, but Amazon wants associates to share that information.

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” –Stephen King

A New Beginning

A quick confession: I have not done the best job at branding my blog. I admit it.

This was formerly The Wild Steampunk Blog. While for the foreseeable future I plan to write steampunk westerns in my unique setting,the Creedverse, I think it was a mistake to make my blog almost solely about steampunk. Yes, I’m an aficionado of the genre, but I am a geek first. As such, I’m into all sorts of speculative fiction. My blog should reflect that.

So, this is simply Jonathan Fesmire’s Blog. Not as catchy as the last name, I know, but it gets right to the point.

I recently moved my site from Wix to Dreamhost. Wix was getting too expensive, and I thought it a good idea to finally move to WordPress. I did attempt to move the former blog here, but, well, Wix doesn’t make that easy or even possible, as far as I could tell, so we’re starting afresh.

However, there are still many interesting posts in that blog, and I encourage you to check it out! I’ll keep The Wild Steampunk Blog online as long as possible. You’ll find cosplay pattern reviews, Bodacious Creed news, interviews, and a lot more.

I feel like I should give everyone a brief update about what’s been happening since my last blog post. So, here goes.

I created a WorldAnvil site for the Creedverse. Some information is available to the public and more is available to anyone who supports me on Patreon. If you’re a patron and have read Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western, even more information gets unlocked for you.

I’ve been learning much more about the self-publishing business and decided to turn what was going to be the sequel to Bodacious Creed into two books. So, I’m currently outlining Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake and Bodacious Creed and the Frisco Syndicate. I also have ideas for other series related to The Adventures of Bodacious Creed that I think fans will love.

I’ve done a lot of research, I’ve set up my series bible, and I have plans for the next couple of books. I foresee things picking up now and moving quickly. 

That’s it for now! I have a lot to get done today, including more outlining. Stay busy, everyone.

“Either write someting worth reading or do something worth writing.” –Benjamin Franklin.