Novel-in-Progress: Gabby the Bug Eyed Monster

So my writing efforts continue unchecked at least for the moment.  I have some stuff making the rounds with various editors, and was trying to decide what to do next.  So I decided upon a little experiment.

I’ve written a few longer stories from outlines with lots and lots of plotting, but I’ve never attempted a short novel without having an outline or really much more than a couple of characters and some initial ideas.  So I thought I’d give it a try on Wattpad.  I’m going to publish one or two chapters a week (500 – 1000 words or so) until I write myself into a corner and blow up my creation or manage to write said short novel.

My working title is Gabby the Bug Eyed Monster.  I put up the first chapter up on Wattpad and plan on posting chapter two no later than August 25, 2019.  For anyone who might want to check this out, be warned this is not a complete story.  It is the first chapter of a work-in-progress.  I’m sure that the 40K-oriented readers on here will notice some passing similarities to a certain favored xenos race….

Gabby cover 350 wide for WordPress

Cover makes me want to re-read Dune.

I made a quick and easy cover for the story.  If I manage to make decent traction with writing the thing, and it gets a half-way decent reception from the reading-free-stuff-online crowd, I might commission a nicer cover for it down the road.

Otherwise, I joined the Goodreads 2019 Reading Challenge and pledged to read at least  50 books this year.  So far I’m up to 34, which the site tells me puts me three books ahead of schedule.  So that’s keen.

My reading for July 2019 was:

  • The Wanderer by Fritz Leiber
  • The Howling Asteroid by Murray Leinster
  • Forever Free by Joe Haldeman
  • Mulgara: The Necromancer’s Will by David Rose
  • Appreciate Your Life: The Essence of Zen Practice by Taizan Maezumi

I’ll be back again (hopefully) with Chapter Two of Gabby next Sunday, and if my sacrifices to the Elder Gods have been particularly propitious maybe I’ll even make some progress on another poxwalker as well!

 

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Red Spiny Backed Poxwalker

Another poxwalker enters the painted ranks, this one being number sixteen of twenty.  A classic example of the Red or Eastern Spiny Backed Poxwalker as coined/pointed out by that Perspicacious Poxwalkerer and Taxonomist, Alexis West.  As she points out in the comments appearing with the post here, this worthy is the “rarer Eastern Spiny Poxwalker … [with its] reddish tones.”

The trend of yellow clothes/red skin continues.

I was originally going for something where the spines/horns/pointy bits were a bit more set off from the rest of the hide, color-wise, but decided that perhaps I was happy with how it turned out more or less.  I find that once they are done, poxwalkers sort of grow on me, and my energies turn toward the next experiment and it is best to close the book and let events take their unnatural course.  After all, what is another soulless minion in a horde of the damned, even if its horns are or aren’t heavily contrasted with the skin in a way satisfying to even the most discriminating warmaster with a eye for color?*

I might add some color to that tan on tan plant…

A funny thing about the yellow pants (and it somehow keeps happening with this mob) … I put quite a bit of effort into the pants and by the end I’m covering up all of my hard work with goop, gore and brown ink.  Then I resolve to not put so much work in to the next poxwalker’s yellow clothes and then I do!

… but probably not!

Another view of the formerly yellow pants.  I got particularly carried away here with the ink, blood, toner, sand, and who knows what else.  Oh well, it is all good though because the next time I paint one of the red/yellow poxwalkers I won’t put so much work into the clothes.  Did the weapon pretty much the same as before, though I went for a slightly darker effect with more black with a little brown ink as opposed to the converse, which is what I did on the other Spiny Back.  A pretty subtle difference, I think.

So I’m in the last month of my second MFA class.  I plan on getting another poxwalker done in the interregnum between the end of this class and the start of the next one.**  Also sent some stuff I recently wrote to a few magazines, as well as a poem I wrote over 20 years ago to the school magazine, which made the mistake of telling me that consider previously published work.


* One is of course aware that poxwalkers, strictly speaking are not ‘soulless.’  As stated in the heretical Lexicanum, “The jolly humour of Nurgle is such that they’ve remain cruelly conscious and aware of all that occurs with them, souls of victims trapped in their dead bodies and with a rictus grin they stagger out in search of living meat to feast on.”

Always good (for a Chaos God) to have a sense of humor, I guess, even (or perhaps especially?) at the expense of others.  Better than dour old Khorne, incomprehensible Tzeentch, and most especially the Dark Prince, who seems really great at first, sort of like getting to eat your favorite food and then you find out you are in hell and all you will be doing for eternity is eating your favorite food.  Makes Happy Grandfather seem pretty good by comparison.

** I was going to say “or maybe two!” but that would be sheer hubris.  Of course any good Chaos Lady would just go for it and say “It’s only hubris if you fail,” and upon failing execute any and all involved or who witnessed it, including any star systems where the populations may or may not have heard someone allude to it in a redacted transmission.  But who has time for that?  So I’ll just stick with the one.

Works Cited

Poxwalker.”  wh40k.lexicanum.com.  Lexicanum, 1 March 2018.  Web.  12 July 2019.

West, Alexis. A Taxonomic Discussion of Poxwalkers Common to the Fourteenth Legion After the Death of Pertinax up to the Ascension of Regalianus the Usurper: A Short Study. [REDACTED], 2018 CE

January Thaw: Short Story

School has been keeping me pretty busy, and one of the things we’re doing is mucking about with social media as writers, potential writers, people posing as writers, etc.  So I’ve been flogging around my short story, January Thaw, in various places and thought I’d make a link to it available on Ye Olde Blog for anyone who might be interested.

January Thaw posits a future where old age is a thing of the past and no one dies anymore. Carolyn Deschaines is a woman who has lived too long, and after 150 years she has decided to gracefully “die of old age.” She puts her affairs in order but then she meets Theo…

January Thaw 350 pixels wide

Additionally, I finished the Red Spiny Back Poxwalker, who is now ready to take to the field with its green twin. I hope to get some pictures of my newest addition to the Festering Horde soon.

Spiny Back Poxwalker

I’ve been at it hammer and tongs continuing work on my poxwalkers.  I completed another one a few days ago, so I now have only five left to finish off the Dark Imperium mob of twenty.  If I pull it off, then I can put the stamp of completion on them for the complete-a-squad portion of Azazel’s March painting challenge.

We continue the tradition of orange pants/green skin.

I decided this time to go with a weapon that is fairly “fresh” in that it was freshly yanked out of some hapless rhino or perhaps an unfortunate daemon engine’s pulsing maw.  (“Open wide and say, ‘Arrraghh!'”)

I finished off the spikes with a little bright silver because I envisioned that they were freshly driven through the flamer as an afterthought, right before the random plague-marine-in-charge-of-the-group-of-poxwalkers-in-the-yellow-and/or-orange-pants sent them wandering off in search of trouble.*

I originally went for black boils because I wanted this poxwalker to be a bit muted, not quite as polychromatic as some of the others.  But I found this didn’t show up very well (or at all) so I tried gradually lighter shades of gray until I was more or less satisfied with the results.

Tried a little subtle heat shading on the flamer.

Shiny Back sort of reminds me a bit of a tyranid with its chitinous right arm, and the spines makes me think of a kroot’s spiny crest.  I hope to get the yellow-and-red twin done this weekend.  I’ve made a good start so my chances of success are pretty high.  I’ve also done a little batch work on the remaining four poxwalkers with the idea of at least vaguely threatening success at completing the squad by the end of March.

I have also gotten a little more paint on one of the Blood Bowl rotters, and I dug out an old, metal miniature that I have had sitting around for a pretty long time now.  It was a bit box find at my local Santa Cruz game store, and originally came in the same Fantasy Lords box as this guy.

Apparently my unpainted white-primed worthy below left is/was Mxomycetes, Duke of the Mire, according to the good people at Grenadier Models.  Shouldn’t be too hard to knock out and if I am able to do so, then I’ll submit our royal friend for Azazel’s genderless/gender ambiguous portion of his March painting challenge.  It’ll mostly come down to when my game store gets a pot of Dechala Lilac into my hot little hands, so we’ll see.

Still on the bench but all saying, “Put me in coach!”

I wanted to put Dave’s Blood Bowl dwarf pictures in this time and talk about the game we played, but when I downloaded the pictures from my camera and messed about with them, I found they had too many shadows and in general I didn’t like them.  We agreed to take some more the next time we got together.  So I’m not sure what the next post will bring, but with what I’m working on there is a good possibility it’ll involve more Death Guard fodder.  As for the dwarves they are currently on neglected-but-not-forgotten status. **

On a personal/non-Death Guard note, I started school this week and am working on a master’s degree in creative writing.  It is proving fun so far and I hope to learn a lot over the next couple of years.


 

*  I sent the pictures of Spiny Back to my friend, Dave, who said, “OK, so basically he has the vertical exhaust pipe from a Peterbuilt truck with spikes stuck through it.”  I like the way he thinks!  That is way more fun than saying it is “a flamer.”

** I also have a number of nature pictures, that I’ve taken in my travels, I’d like to post.  I’ve been saving them for when I’m busy with school and work and don’t have anything to post of my painting or games.

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Poxwalker #13: Done and then Done Again!

Today’s offering is (surprise!) another poxwalker.  I’m doing this instead of the Dave’s Blood Bowl Dwarves, which I promised last time, because I want to squeeze another model in under the wire for Azazel’s February 2019 Neglected Models Painting Challenge.  This means I have a score of two completed zombies for this month.  By my somewhat lugubriously somnolent yet hopefully consistently turgid standards this is magnificent progress indeed!

In the grim darkness of the far future there is only slow painting.

Little Number Thirteen is especially neglected in that I started it back when Dark Imperium first came out, ignored the poxwalkers in general for quite a long time, though I finished this one back in July 2018, ignored it for about seven months*, decided the model needed more work, put in about another hour or so on it last night and then pronounced it done done not just done unless I decide to drybrush the horns a little more, and then it finally might be done done, though I think I’m going to call it done done the way it is.

I might drybrush the horns a bit, but (meh) probably not.

Here is a roundup picture for the Neglected Model Challenge.  Two done in the same month!  How my fabulously fetid forces ferociously fester!**

Neglected Model Challenge Roundup Pic:  I wonder if I can paint two more for March?

I also made a little progress on the Nurgle Blood Bowl team, getting some shade and even some paint onto one of the rotters.  Rotters are the basic linemen of a Nurgle team.  My plan is to paint their helmets and armor bright yellow, their clothes (or what passes for same) and their gloves orange, and their shoes brown or black.  I might even try my hand at some decals.

For next time (and I mean it this time since I won’t have any painting challenge deadlines to slither under) my plan is to present the much eagerly awaited Dave’s Blood Bowl Dwarves.

Yes, I probably will use my Nurgle football team in 40K/Kill Team as well. 🙂

Nurgle image 125 wide


* Additional Neglect Points are gained for Little Number Thirteen because it appears our new friend was a no-show for my July 2018 roundup of then completed zombies.  I thought it was in there somewhere but it appears not, unless it had gotten into some Tzeentchite Invisibility Juice again.

** Say that ten times in a row really fast!

 

Poxwalkers #12 & #14 and Blood Bowl Update

My go-to models for Azazel’s Neglected Model Challenges are my hideously neglected* poxwalkers, and this lucky fellow (?) is number fourteen of twenty.

Got to get that cat hair up with a lint roller next time.

Painted him a lot like the others, predictably, though I decided to go easy on the blood/ooze/pus/etc. this time and not turn him into a somewhat juicy mess like his messmate below.  Perhaps his cocktail of diseases included a touch of desiccation and a pleasing whitening of the flesh?

I used Pallid Witch Flesh for the white and then some Skull White over that.  For the rims of the open sores I used various flesh tones, but finished with the lightest I have (without mixing paints), Kislev Flesh.  I used Nurgle’s Rot to give them a little shine.  I was originally going to go for, as I said, the dry look, but I decided upon reflection he did need a touch of satin.

Might whiten up that one worm a bit, I don’t know.

I tried an experiment with texture pastes on his air tank, which didn’t work out well at all.  I scrapped most of the paste off, though it turns out the stuff can be stubborn so I left a veneer, which I think came out alright.  (Thank goodness I didn’t try this experiment with someone, who is more fastidious, like say a Khorne Berserker or anything Slaanesh.)

I ended up, as I so often do, splotching random inks and such on the tank until it seemed advisable to call it a day.  Finally, I wanted to give the it a little metallic shine, but I didn’t want to lighten the tank up too much, so I drybrushed on a little Vallejo Gunmetal Grey (70.863) instead of the usual steel colors.

Where’d that piece of hair come from on his horn between pictures?  Danged cats!

This mob is characterized by the innovation that all of the zombies with reddish skin are wearing yellow and the green ones are wearing orange.**  These two are wearing identical, reversible jumpsuits, as you can see.  Even the web gear is reversible.

Recycled Poxbringer Pic:  Proudly showing off their yellow mold.

I am looking forward to trying out the new (to me) basing video on my nascent Blood Bowl team.  If I like how it turns out, I might do something like it for my desert bases, instead of going the simple route of just slapping some sand on it and calling it a day.  For now though, I’m going to continue as I began with my zombies because I want them all to more or less match.

All of my Blood Bowl team are on bases now, so that’s a little progress.

Speaking of Blood Bowl, I did get a little more priming done, but it is back to cold, wet, and humid so that’s on hold for awhile.  I did get them all based, and my experiment with priming before affixing the models to bases went well in that I decided I liked affixing then priming better than priming then affixing.***

I also green stuffed a made-between-two-combs-that-my-husband-hopefully-isn’t-using-anymore tentacle to that bloater I was talking about before, where I put the model together out of order and had a horrendous gap I had to do something about.  I’ll show him next time, when I post some pictures of my friend, Dave’s, Blood Bowl dwarves he recently painted and was kind enough to let me play against him in a game against his orks.  After that hopefully I’ll have a rotter or two to show you.

Nurgle Blood Bowl Icon 125

* “Hideously neglected” might be a bit of an overstatement since the Dark Imperium box came out in June 2017, so I’ve only been working on my Death Guard zombies for less than a year now, which isn’t bad for a squad of twenty by my standards.  Frightfully neglected, perhaps?

** In case I’m insane enough to try and paint another mob of these guys in accordance with my original, crazy plan of eventually running a zombie horde once I get back to playing 40K again.  “Horde” for the sized games I generally play(ed) would be about 80 to 100 bodies, which would include extras for (hopefully) turning some enemy infantry into more poxwalkers.

*** For one, I didn’t like having to either scrape or tape the bottoms of the feet so I could use cement.  I could use super glue, of course, but I sometimes drop my miniatures and with super glue most of the time the miniature (at best) comes off the base or (at worst) explodes into its constituent parts like my friend, Dave’s, poor metal Blood Bowl troll.  Still, it is superior in some ways, such as getting those sometimes hard-to-reach nether regions and if you want to spray the base a different color than the miniature.

Work on Nurgle Blood Bowl Team Begins

So I bought the Nurgle-themed Blood Bowl team not too long ago and finished putting them together.  I started in on the priming, as much as the wet and humid winter weather of Santa Cruz allows.

N is for Nurgle!

The fat guys are called Bloaters.  Their thing is being strong and so disgusting that people sometimes hesitate in attacking them, and their mere presence can mess with opponent’s throwing and so on.  When I was assembling them, I neglected to read the directions to my peril.  Apparently you are supposed to glue one of the arms to a torso piece and then glue the two torso pieces together.

Instead, I glued the torso together and found I couldn’t wedge the arm in.  I was able to get the arm cemented in place, with a little surgery, but this left an unsatisfactory gap.  So I’m going to have to green stuff some sort of flab/tentacle/whatever to hide the error, which I haven’t done as of typing this.

Mystery solved on the finger/horn thingies.

The above player is called a Pestigor.  Their thing is they move a bit faster than the rest of the team and have horns, which it can use when to blitzes/charges an opponent.  Hence the name, I’m guessing.  A pestiferous monstrosity that gores people.

I did read the directions on this guy and it never showed the two finger piece in the directions, which I super glued on after I primed it.  I looked at it on the sprue, clipped it off and thought maybe it was some weird extra that I could randomly glue on to something as nobby growths or whatever.  But then again it had a number (#34) so maybe it had to go with something.  After fiddling around for awhile I saw that it fit onto the pestigor’s hand like a glove, so to speak, and the mystery was solved.  Fortunate too, because I almost tried gluing one onto my aforementioned bloater’s embarrassing armpit gap.

Be nice if they supplied the correct bases. 🙂

Finally, the box came with a pack of 32mm slotted bases.  I could have filled in the slots with green stuff, but this was too much work so I dug out some regular bases that I have and decided to use those.

I was thinking too of doing something a little different than my glue-some-sand-onto-the-base-paint-the-ring-desert-tan-and-call-it-a-day technique and use Duncan’s Blood Bowl basing for these guys.  It has the virtue of being pretty simple-looking and as I said, different than what I’ve been doing.

Also, I’m going to work on getting at least one miniature done for Azazel’s Neglected Model Challenge for February 2019.  Hope everyone has a good February.

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