My Rambling Report


Before I start this post in earnest, it’s important you know where to get my books and my dice accessories, the very same I was selling at this convention. You’ll find links on my homepage where you can purchase Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western and Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake in various formats, including Audible.



Order custom-painted dice towers in a variety of styles from my Etsy shop.



 And now, 

onto the news!

This was my first Gaslight Steampunk Expo, and what a fun event. Last Thusday, I drove down to San Diego from Anaheim, about an hour and a half trip, so not bad, and my son and I got settled in our room and got our table set up before the vendor’s room opened.

By the way, If this post seems disjointed, it’s because I’m still adjusting to post-con life. Conventions are fun, whether you’re a member, getting to check out the dealers’ room and panels, a guest, getting to be on panels, or a vendor, meeting the public and selling your wares.

My COVID Hobby




Like many, in 2020 I began what I think of as my “COVID hobby,” which simply means a hobby I started because lockdown gave me some free time. I got into 3D printing and miniature painting, things I had been interested in for years but rarely had time for. Being a business-minded creative, within a few months, I folded the new hobby into my business. So, I’m a steampunk western novelist who prints, paints, and sells dice towers.

My Merch


Both the towers and the books drew people to my table at Gaslight and I made some great sales. Plus, I met a lot of kind and interesting people. I also got to see other vendors I know from the convention circuit whom I hadn’t seen in a while. And, yes, naturally I bought some neat stuff, too, including books, dice, goggles, character figures, and beard balm.


This was my and my son’s first multi-day convention since he was oh, six months old or so, I think. He’s 13 now and proved to be an excellent helper.


During downtime, I made a few TikTok videos every day and I finished reading the DND 5e Dungeon Master’s Guide.

My Photos


In addition to making TikTok videos to showcase my booth, the convention, and to just have some fun, I took a lot of photos. To give you a sense of what the convention was like, here are a bunch of them! Enjoy.











“OMG YOU GUYS it has come to my attention that SOMEONE on the internet is saying that my fictional 19th century zombies are NOT SCIENTIFICALLY SOUND. Naturally, I am crushed. To think, IF ONLY I’d consulted with a zombologist or two before sitting down to write, I could’ve avoided ALL THIS EMBARRASSMENT.” ~ Cherie Priest



bodacious creed and the jade lake


The sequel to Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western, and the second novel in my series, The Adventures of Bodacious Creed, is out! Yesterday, August 7, 2021, was release day.

This is something I need to document, so here I am!

Yes, Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake is out, available on Amazon in Kindle and trade paperback formats, available for Nook on Barnes & Noble’s site (and hopefully trade paperback soon… I’m working on it…), and available from other sellers like Apple and Kobo. It’s up on Goodreads, too, and has already earned several glowing reviews.

Here’s the cover, by Mark Reid at Author Packages. I love this and look forward to working with him again.




I ran a release party yesterday on Facebook, something I first did for Bodacoius Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western. When that book came out, I shared information and images related to the book, but I also shared a lot of steampunk and western memes. For the Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake party, everything I shared was from the books and my world, the Creedverse. I have so much material now, including realistic drawings of my characters.

Three people won trade paperback copies of Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western. Yes, I do prizes! If you


Every writer works differently. If you’ve been writing long, and studying your craft, you already know that, but I wanted to preface this post with that fact. The correct way to write is what works for you.

Over time, you’ll refine your methods. You’ll try different techniques, find new tools, and if you do it well, you’ll keep getting better.

It can help to know how other writers work. My own method has been evolving, and I figured I’d outline it here. If this helps you, great!

Check out the party page. Yes, it’s over, but I think you’ll enjoy the posts.


book 3


Almost immediately, in the AMA thread I set up for the party, someone asked when Book 3 comes out. Some authors find this frustrating, because we put a lot of work into one book, but readers get through them in a day or so and want the next one! I found it gratifying though that someone asked.

I had planned to release the third book, Bodacious Creed and the San Francisco Syndicate in December, but that was wishful thinking. I am learning to write my books faster, but I think this one will come out around next August. A year isn’t too long to wait!

Getting into a new novel can be tough. For me, it’s like looking for a secret door. I may have a good idea of what the story will be about, but I still have to find my way in.

This applies to sequels as well. After I finished Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake and got it to my editor, I wrote a detailed outline of Bodacious Creed and the San Francisco Syndicate, and still, I’ve been having a tough time finding my way back in!

Last night though, I got it. The beginning of the book came to me and now I’m excited to crank out the first draft.

If you have a tough time getting into a story you want to write, I suggest typing up or penning various scenes to see what works. Even if none of those feel right, there’s a good chance your brain will get the message and your subconscious will provide the way forward.



Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western is just $0.99c now in digital formats and will be for the foreseeable future. Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake is $0.99 until August 14, 2021, when I’ll raise it to its regular price, so get it soon!

  1. “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway 



Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake is finished!

EDIT: The Kindle edition is available for pre-order, and for just $0.99! But a week after it’s released on August 7, 2021, it will go up to its full price. Get it here:



You read that right! I’ve been working with my editor, K.H. Koehler, on it for the last couple of months, and it’s ready to go! She did a phenomenal job streamlining my prose. And I thought I was good at that!

Today, I’m preparing it for publication and pre-sales, with a release date of August 7, 2021! In just a few weeks, you’ll be able to continue your adventure with James “Bodacious” Creed.

What has he been up to since Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western? Where does he live? Is he still fighting for justice? You’ll learn all that soon.


cover reveal


Months ago, I commissioned Mark Reid Author Packages to create the cover for Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake. He not only came up with a wonderful design, he updated the typography, too. To keep a consistent design between books, I also used the same typography on the first book in the series, Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western.

Here it is, the cover of Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake!


I’m still preparing the book for presale in print and Kindle formats. Soon, I’ll find a reader and get the audiobook version completed, too. I’ll update this space when I have links.

Meanwhile, feel free to search for Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake on Amazon, and to purchase Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western if you haven’t read it yet.

I did a ton of research for this novel, but once I had that done, it took about a year to write it. I expect to have the third book out in less time.

“What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you.” ~ Anne Lamott

Second Draft Off to My Alpha Readers


All of you who read my novel, Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western, should be happy to know that I have finished the second draft of the sequel, Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake. I sent it off to my alpha readers, and as soon as they’ve read it and given me their thoughts, I’ll get to work polishing the book up. Once it’s just about done, I’ll have my beta readers give me their comments, then a bit more editing, then I’ll order the cover art and send it to my line editor. Next, I’ll publish it! My plan is to have it out in or around July this year.

And Now








The third book in the series will be Bodacious Creed and the Frisco Syndicate. Since I’m now waiting for my readers, I’m starting the process of outlining the new book today. I’ve taken down another one of my Hero’s Journals for the new novel. I know I’ve mentioned before that I’ve begun using one for each book I write. Even though I’m only on Act 2 of the journal for Jade Lake, I am getting started on Frisco Syndicate. So, that means I’m on two quests at once.


I also have two short stories to write, at least, so I plan to get those done before my alpha readers finish reading that second draft of Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake.



My Raffle Item 


I made this Bodacious Creed bust! I modified a Hero Forge miniature of Creed, printed it in resin, painted it, and now it’s up on one of my bookshelves.

When I sell books at future conventions, I plan to raffle off one of these. People will get tickets based on how much they spend on my books and whatever other merchandise I’m selling.

That’s it for today! I wish you the best in all your own creative endeavors.

Oh yeah, and if you haven’t read Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western yet, now’s a good time to get it with the sequel coming out in three or four months!

“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” ~ Lemony Snicket



A Facebook and Twitter friend of mine recently asked on one of her feeds, “What new hobbies have you gotten into during the pandemic?” I knew I wasn’t the only one who, not being able to go out as much, had found something new and fun to occupy my time, but I realized what a good question that was and enjoyed reading the various comments.

You may ask, “Jonathan, what is your new COVID hobby?” Well, I’ve gotten into resin 3D printing. This ticks so many of my interest buttons. I love 3D stuff. Years ago I was into 3D photography, and later creating 3D art that pops when you put on the right sort of glasses. Later, I got my MFA in Animation & Visual Effects with a focus on 3D modeling. Plus, I’m a DND and TTRPG geek and have always loved miniatures. So, being able to print my own? Bring it on!


My Newest Printer


I got my first printer last November. I won’t hash or rehash it in great detail here, but while it printed just fine, when it needed a specific replacement part, I found it impossible to install. I think the company should have replaced the entire printer instead of a couple of individual parts, seeing how difficult it was for me to fix it myself with all these small parts, tight spaces, and short cords, but they wouldn’t do that. So, I got my newest printer from a different company.

My new printer is an Elegoo Mars 2 Pro. It’s a “mono” resin printer, which, in practical terms, means that it prints about two times faster and that the screen lasts about four times longer before needing to be replaced. And yes, I researched how to replace the screen and other parts when necessary, and it looks far easier than my last printer, like something I can actually do.

I got it last Thursday, and after doing three calibration prints to help me figure out the optimal settings, I printed this.

Resin 3D Print of Bernie Sanders in Mittens

Yes, it’s a cartoon version of Bernie Sanders in mittens! Bernie took about six hours to print, and the chair another five, and I absolutely love how he came out. By the way, this model is free on Thangs.Com.

Last night and this morning I painted him as well, and here’s how he looks.

Painted Bernie Sanders with Mittens Model

One fun thing about him is that he’s separate from the chair, so I can set him on a shelf or the edge of my desk if I want. This one is actually a gift for someone, though, and I’ll be sending it soon.

I’ve shown other figures I’ve made in past posts and in the newsletter, so I think that’s what I’ll share in this post. The point is, I’ve been really enjoying this hobby.

Yes, I’m still writing! That’s my craft, though, and craft > hobby. Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake is coming along well and I expect to have it published in the second quarter of this year.


What is your new covid hobby?


I’d really like to know, what hobby or hobbies have all of you begun during this pandemic? What is your new covid hobby?

Yes, it has been awful. Far too many people have passed away or acquired long-term problems due to the disease. It’s disrupted the economy, causing businesses to shut down. It’s kept us from loved ones and been a stressor on us all.

That’s why I suspect many of us have taken up new hobbies, to deal with that stress. The thing is, that’s actually a silver lining on this storm cloud. You may have learned a new skill or discovered an interest that you’ll continue to enjoy even after enough of us have been vaccinated to go back to life resembling the old normal.

So, tell me about your hobbies! Feel free to post below or to email me at jonathan at jonathanfesmire dot com.

“No man is really happy or safe without a hobby.” ~ William Osler


Holiday Creativity Switch



I hope everyone had a good, safe November. Before COVID-19, I didn’t feel the need to wish people a safe month or year. I just assumed people would do their best to be safe, I guess. But now, we all have to be so careful to protect ourselves and our families. It’s getting worse out there, so please, please stay safe.

















I have a few things to share and figured I’d do that here! My son and I had a nice Thanksgiving at home. We got on Zoom with family and played Apples to Apples with everyone, so that was fun, and it almost felt like we were all sitting at the same table.

Writing & Art

Work on Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake is moving, but more slowly than I’d like. That’s because in November I started a new hobby that I’m using it to make Christmas presents this year.

Do you have a favorite type of art? While I love all sorts, I’ve always been drawn to things in 3D. That includes sculptures, 3D photography, and 3D modeling. (I do have an MFA in Animation & Visual Effects.) I also get paid every two weeks, which means that twice a year, I get an “extra” paycheck. Mine came in November, and with it, I got a resin 3D printer and various accessories.

I’ve been learning the ins and outs of it and have gotten it to print really well. I’m printing, and painting, miniatures for my family this year, which means my son, my parents, my brother and sister and their spouses, and my nieces and nephew. (I’m printing minis for other friends, too, but I can only paint so many!) This is taking up a lot of my time but is really fun.

Hero Forge also had a sale on 3D files recently, so I got a bunch for half price, including a lot based on characters from my series, The Adventures of Bodacious Creed. I figured I’d share a few here.

Yes, there are robots in my steampunk western world, though they’re accurately called “automatons” (the term “robot” wasn’t coined until 1920). In the Creedverse, they’re colloquially called “steelies,” at least in the western states. These steelies all appear within the first two books.

And here’s the murderous villain of Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western, Corwin Blake. (I’ll be sanding a few areas before I paint it.)

Now, I’m just getting back into painting minis. The last time I did this I was in my 20s, so I’m really rusty. I know I’ll get better, and I also know that as far as the presents go, it is the thought that counts. Here’s one of the protagonist, James “Bodacious” Creed, with his special guns and his guitar. Faces are especially tough, but this is small and looks great on the shelf.

This weekend I have some work to do for my day job, and I plan to spend most of my time painting these gifts and working on Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake. I am more than 2/3 of the way through the second draft!

Get Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, Scribd, Angus & Robertson, and Vivlio. The 14-hour audiobook version is available on Audible, and you can get that for free with a new subscription. Then, you’ll be ready for Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake when it comes out in three or four months.

I’d love to know what you’ve been up to for November, and this month. Feel free to share in the comments.

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” ~ Maya Angelou.


I used to approach novel writing quite differently than I do now.

I would spend a lot of time on my first draft, making sure the story made sense, that everything fit together perfectly, that there were no inconsistencies with the character motivations, and so on.

It took me years to write each book.

All that stuff is still important. However, without realizing it, I was combining creating with editing. The balance was off.


Now: Writing Your Garbage Draft


This draft is about getting the story down.

I’ve covered how I approach writing a first draft–what I’ve learned to call a “garbage draft,” in this post. The garbage draft is all about getting the story down. If there are inconsistencies or characters do things that don’t make sense, that’s fine. After all, this draft is meant to be garbage! Currently, I can get a garbage draft of a 70,000 to 80,000-word novel done in about two months.

When it’s finished, that draft is a mess! But it’s a mess I can work with.

Now: Writing Your Second Draft

This draft is about getting the story right.

For me, the second draft is the toughest. That’s all right. That’s what writing your second draft should be. This is where I ensure that the story makes sense. I fix inconsistencies with the characters, plot, timeline, and setting. I also do my best to bring out the best in the story by enhancing what works and cutting what doesn’t.

I’m finding that this draft takes about as long to get through as the garbage draft. I have my series bible open as I go, not only so that I can double-check information, but so I can add to it. For example, I add to the timeline as I go, ensuring that I know when and in what order events take place.

While this draft is hard, it’s also fun. This book takes place in San Francisco in the 1870s, so it’s fair to say this process is like digging for gold.

It’s also tiring, hence the title of this post, “The Second Draft Blues.”


Now: Writing Your Third Draft


I expect that my third draft of Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake will involve additional story fixes, though they should be much easier. I’ll also begin to focus on polishing the prose. This draft should take half the time, or less, than the last draft.

Then, I’ll get the book to a few alpha readers. How I proceed with the fourth draft will depend on their comments and if I agree with them. Chances are, they’ll bring up things I missed that I need to improve upon, and they’ll have some ideas that I’ll respect, but not agree with.

If you’re also a writer, I hope this helps you get through writing your second draft!

Halloween on COVID


How was your Halloween this year? In a normal year, my son and I would have gone to Disneyland for a few hours. He would have worn a costume, we would have had some icecream, gone on the Haunted Mansion a couple of times, and probably trekked through Galaxy’s Edge. Instead, we stayed home. The Magic Kingdom is still closed though, as it should be until we get some kind of control over COVID-19.

I hope the rest of you had a fantastically frightening Halloween! Feel free to tell me about it in the comments.

It’s Time for NaNoWriMo


Are you participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this year? Every November, thousands of people will write their own garbage draft of a 50,000 novel. It’s a personal challenge. Can you write a 50,000-word story in a month?

I’m not participating in it this year, since I’m in the middle of intense edits, but I’ll keep an eye on how others progress and draw inspiration to push forward on my own work.

While you’re here, sign up for my newsletter below! I send one out about once a week to share interesting news or to let people know when I’ve shared a new blog post.

Stories may well be lies, but they are good lies that say true things, and which can sometimes pay the rent. ~ Neil Gaiman


Miniatures for Worldbuilding

I know, I’ve been writing a lot about Hero Forge recently, but when I find something useful that keeps on giving, I want to share it. If something helps me with my writing or worldbuilding, I figure it can help others, too. I never would have thought I’d use miniatures for worldbuilding, but here we are.

Since robots exist in my steampunk western world, I decided to check out how they look on Hero Forge. I was surprised to see that they look a lot like how I imagine their Creedverse counterparts. So, I went ahead and created versions of Lucky and Dixie, the two automatons who guard the restaurant and brothel known as The House of Amber Doves.

I also splurged for the pro level on Hero Forge. Since I’m creating pretty much all of my huge cast of characters there, I figured I could use the additional capabilities, like close-up images, folders, and more. That’s what allowed me to create the portrait pictures, too.





Characters, Old and New

Maybe I can whet your appetite for Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western and its sequel, Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake, by sharing these characters. Even if not, if this inspires you to create miniatures or pictures of your own characters, I’ve done well. Here are some from the first book.

And here are some from the sequel. No spoilers, just something to get people excited for what’s to come.

Remember, you can sign up for my newsletter below to get updates on fun and helpful blog posts like this one. And Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Scribd, Angus & Robertson, and Vivlio.

“This tremendous world I have inside of me. How to free myself, and this world, without tearing myself to pieces. And rather tear myself to a thousand pieces than be buried with this world within me.” ~ Franz Kafka


Create and Color Your Own Gaming Miniatures

As you’ll quickly see if you peruse this blog, I love creating art based on my characters. I don’t draw very well, but I have other artistic skills that have allowed me to create portraits of characters like James “Bodacious” Creed, Anna Lynn Boyd, Jonathan Johns, and Rob Cantrell.

I even created miniatures, tabletop-gaming style, of those four and shared pictures a while ago. I used the Hero Forge site to do this. I’m in the process of painting them, although slowly!

Well, I learned from a dear friend yesterday that Hero Forge now has color options. Right now, that means you can create and color your own gaming miniatures on their site and take screenshots. You can order them in color as well, though they look different, so you’ll want to compare the look. If you decide to order physical miniatures, you can decide if you want their color versions or to paint them yourself.

Hero Forge has tons of options when it comes to character design and colors, including making major adjustments to poses and mixing your own colors.

Yes, I’m going to share those color versions of my characters today, right here. Enjoy!

Main Characters

Bodacious Creed Miniature

James “Bodacious” Creed is the protagonist of my novel, Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western, and the ongoing series, The Adventures of Bodacious Creed. He’s a former U.S. Marshal who was murdered in the line of duty. Later, a woman retrieved his body and resurrected him, and now he fights for justice again.

Anna Lynn Boyd is the woman in question. Due to close past ties with Creed, and her brilliant scientific mind, she brought him back to life.


Supporting Characters

Jonathan Johns is Anna’s partner, both in the lab and in life. In his late teens, he left home and worked on the railroad line for two years before making it to Santa Cruz, California, where he met Anna.

Rob “El Tiburón” Cantrell is a bounty hunter who comes to Santa Cruz after the same outlaw who killed Bodacious Creed. The two find themselves at odds with each other as their investigations progress.


My D&D Character


I’m playing D&D again! Due to COVID-19, I’m playing online with a group of friends using Roll 20 and DND Beyond. So, I also created a miniature of my character, a tiefling warlock. Here she is.

Whether you order from Hero Forge or not, it’s a fun place to exercise your creativity and to create and color your own gaming miniatures. Have fun with it!

Want more interesting ideas about how to exercise your creativity, about science fiction and fantasy, or about art and writing? Sign up for my newsletter below!

“There is no winning or losing, but rather the value is in the experience of imagining yourself as a character in whatever genre you’re involved in, whether it’s a fantasy game, the Wild West, secret agents or whatever else. You get to sort of vicariously experience those things.” ~ Gary Gygax


A Behind-the-Scenes Peek at Jonathan Fesmire’s “Creedverse”


Last week I created a survey to ascertain what my readers do creatively and what they want to see in my newsletter and this blog. You can still take it here.

So far I’ve received dozens of answers and they’ve all been helpful. I’ve learned that many of you want to read more about writing and about steampunk.

So, this week, I created a video showing off my series bible for The Creedverse, the steampunk western world of my series that begins with Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western. 

You can visit The Creedverse yourself, but you won’t see everything that I, as the author, get to see and work with. Here’s a spoiler-free behind-the-scenes peek where you can get a good idea of just how expansive it has become. Check out character images and names, steampunk technology, maps, and more. Perhaps it will inspire you with your own writing or worldbuilding!


For more announcements like this, sign up for my newsletter! There’s a link in the right sidebar and the very bottom of this page.

“There is no winning or losing, but rather the value is in the experience of imagining yourself as a character in whatever genre you’re involved in, whether it’s a fantasy game, the Wild West, secret agents or whatever else. You get to sort of vicariously experience those things.” ~ Gary Gygax