jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
 The Complete Red Vixen Adventures is now available for pre-order in both Kindle ($5.99) and trade paperback ($19.99) for a June 1st. 2017 release.

Since 2011 readers have enjoyed the adventures of the Darktail family and their entanglements with the vivacious space pirate, the Red Vixen. Now this brand new collection gathers all the major stories in the series Captive of the Red Vixen, Shadow of the Red Vixen, Shadow of Her Sins, Shadow of Doubt, The Red Vixen at Sea and I Fought the Claw and the Claw Won, plus two never before published short stories "Solstice Gifts" and "The Parable of the Glassblower" along with an appendix featuring fun world building notes.
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
Love on the beach... and the rocks.

Lady Melanie Lovejoy's former life as the vivacious space pirate the Red Vixen is over. Escaping the consequences of her criminal career proves more difficult, as her husband, Rolas, is seeming to reconsider the wisdom of marrying a vixen with such a checkered past. But he proves to have his own secrets, as a lover from his troubled youth returns to the scene.

Trying to reconcile their past lives, Melanie and Rolas leave on a sailing trip to work things out. However, after an unexpected storm strands their boat and leaves Rolas critically injured, Melanie must fight for both their lives. For there is a monster here, and it needs the two shipwrecked foxen for its own plans, in the final exciting entry of the
Red Vixen Adventures!

The Red Vixen at Sea is available for $2.99 exclusively through Amazon.com, and will release on May 26th, 2017.

(sorry about the crap cover art. I'll fix it when the opportunity presents itself.)
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)

Just attempting to codify some of the worldbuilding I've done over the years, starting with the tech.

* * *

Tech Level
: In general the G:RVA tech level is TL9-11, following the Safe-Tech path (p. UT10), with some gravity related superscience additions.


Cut for the RPG disinterested )
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
 Description: Commitment bands are the most common form of display of one’s marriage status on Foxen Prime, owing primarily to their use by followers of the Mother Goddess. Their origins are obscure, but date back to at least -4,000 PS (Pre-Spaceflight), going by the famous tile mosaics found in ruins of the Foxen Bronze Age city of Riverguard

A commitment band is commonly a silver or gold wrist cuff, usually about a half-centimeter thick and two to six centimeters wide, worn by both (or all, depending) spouses. Pearl inlays are common, and almost without exception both spouses’ names and the date of their wedding are engraved upon them, occasionally with a prayer to the Mother Goddess for long and fruitful lives.

What sets commitment bands apart from something like human wedding rings is a certain higher, er, binding nature. Bands are typically locking, with the key one’s band being held in trust by their spouse. Sometimes the locks are symbolic and the bands easily popped open with a little force. Sometimes they’re very serious, requiring unique keys and/or double locks that need both spouses’ keys to open. In more modern versions some use thumbpad locks or even encrypted locking software and built in GPS tracking.[1] In the case of more serious units, ambulances and hospitals always have specialized “band crackers” to pop even heavy duty locks if they’d interfere with emergency treatment of patients.


Ceremony: Pre-wedding engagements for foxen can have several levels of seriousness, but they almost always make use of ribbons, usually silk, tied around the wrist, to display a pair’s commitment to each other. Close friends might have a simple loop and bow, a couple that is dating might have multicolored ribbons woven in a pattern. A couple that is intending to wed would have ribbons woven in a very elaborate style, weaving around the wrist and between the fingers, palm pads and the back of one’s paw.

On the wedding day, the couple stands nude before the priestess (usually the eldest female of the wife’s family) in a show of innocence and piety to the Mother Goddess. The priestess unties the ribbons from the couple’s wrists, and they speak their vows to each other. Then the priestess blesses the couple and the two of them offer their commitment bands, and the keys to same, to the other, to be attached to their wrists. Once locked in place the priestess completes the ceremony and the couple dress and attend the wedding reception with the usual offering of food, presents, and questionably “helpful” gifts from close friends,[2] before retreating to their wedding bed or the next available flight to their honeymoon destination.

Legends: The origin of commitment bands are obscure. One popular legend is that of a Commoner or Military caste vixen who rescues a prince from slavery to a monster. The chains the monster forces the prince to wear are enchanted, and the clever vixen is able to trick the monster into removing all but the last one before she kills it. Though now free, the prince can’t remove the last of his slave bands without losing his paw, so in a show of her love for him, the vixen attaches one of the other bands to her own wrist, so they would remain connected forever. From there the tradition of the locking bands moved from story to reality, though usually without attached chains.


[1] Rolas and Melanie’s bands are a dual layer carbon/diamond composite inner ring and gold outer ring, with electronic locks that are quantum encoded, requiring use of a physical key that transmits the release codes when turned, and an additional thumbpad lock. After their shipwreck, Melanie discretely added a GPS tracker and biomonitor to Rolas’ band before he put back on when he was released from the hospital.[3] She’s going to tell him about it One of These Days.

[2] Usually sex toys or helpful band add-ons such as chains or leg irons…

[3] Yes that's a bit stalkery, but Melanie is the Queen of Ill-Considered Decisions.


jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
Just trying to codify some of the core concepts of this universe

* * *

 1. The Good Guys Win:  This isn’t Game of Thrones. While Our Heroes might go through physical and emotional hell, they will come out on top in the end.

2. Good is Good: As a corollary to #1, the protagonists should always be a positive moral force. While House Darktail and their allies aren’t Pollyannas, in general  they should avoid acting out of anger or revenge. Even Melanie at her worst mostly suffers from a bit of selfishness and a failure to acknowledge her errors. 

3. Bad is Bad: The bad guys should be very obviously bad guys. Bloody Margo was a petty, murderous bully.  Countess Highglider was obsessed with revenge. Her son was an abusive spouse. There should be no doubt that antagonists deserve whatever fate they receive.

4. The Quality of Mercy is Not Strained: That said, if a character is genuinely remorseful for their actions, such as Ali and Mel, they should get the benefit of the doubt. That includes borderline characters like Nari, whose motives were confused even to herself.

5. It’s a LGBQT Friendly ‘Verse: No one should be attacked or belittled simply for their sexual orientation.  Ali angsts a bit about being worthy of Salli, but her criminal past, not being a lesbian, is what causes her problems. Likewise Rolas isn’t ashamed of being Bi, he’s ashamed of having acted like an idiot when confronted with being parted from his lovers.

6. Violence Should be Handled With Discretion:  While there is violence portrayed “on screen” during the stories, it should be handled with care and not fetishized. Ali’s torture by Bloody Margo was off-screen. When she shot someone herself it was handled matter-of-factly, and not in glowing terms. When Salli killed a man, and Ali was “blooded”, it was described with some horrific terms, but that was to reflect on their own terror and unfamiliarity with personal violence, not to just lovingly describe someone’s head cracking open. 

7. Love Should be Loving: Sex scenes should always be positive, and not written in an exploitive manner. “Male Gaze” descriptions and IKEA Erotica should definitely be avoided. More extreme acts (such as Rolas and Mel’s implied BDSM lovemaking) should be generally handled off screen.

Exception:  There’s nothing wrong with describing the Red Vixen as sexy, since she’s very deliberately playing that aspect of herself up as a disguise and distraction.

8. Ali Must Suffer: Sorry, it’s the rule.
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
 Note: This is my third or fourth attempt to write this story. Hopefully this time it'll work.

* * *

She woke up from the nightmare of blood, to find herself in a nightmare of pain.

It had been the usual dream, the pile of bodies, smoking and smelling of burnt flesh. She would cough and choke on the horrible smoke, claws scratching at the steel walls of the room, desperate to find a way out. But the walls were solid. There were no doors to allow her to escape. Eventually the smoke thickened and she tripped over the bodies, falling into them, dead arms and legs tangling with her own, trapping her, choking her, until she woke up again in the Relentless’ bunkroom, trying not to scream and earn another beating.

She blinked, realized she was awake. A brief bout of panic overcame her as she felt the harsh florescent light shine in her face. Was she late for duty call? She tried to roll out of bed to her feet, only then discovering the heavy nylon straps holding her naked to an examination table in an unfamiliar sickbay.

Captured and rescued )
jeriendhal: (Ali)
Peta actually contacted me and agreed to take a shot at both covers. I owe her big.

Well crud

Mar. 29th, 2017 04:55 am
jeriendhal: (Ali)
Got a private note from my regular cover artist, pleading creative burnout, which I can't blame her for. Unfortunately it does mean I'm at a loss for cover art for "The Red Vixen at Sea" and "The Complete Red Vixen Adventures."

The main problem she was good and obscenely cheap (which I have pointed out to her before). It's a combination I'm unlikely to find again easily. Cover art for furry novels like these are rather dependent on showing off the characters so the reader knows what they're getting, and character art almost always means commissioning something instead of using open source images and an online cover creator.

So at this point I'm either going to have to go with that, or find an artist and do a Kickstarter to pay them what they're worth.

Unless [livejournal.com profile] chaypeta is willing to work for Terinu fanfics. :/
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
Sometime in the last week the Captive of the Red Vixen audiobook reached fifty sales. No bad I suppose for a three year old audiobook with zero advertising or word of mouth.
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
Wrote a up prologue to The Visitors, which I want to try and finish before beating my head against a potential For Your Safety novel.


***


“You know, vacations are usually for relaxation,” Melanie observed dryly. Rolas’ wife was dressed in Commoner culottes and a crop top shirt, sitting in half-lotus atop a workbench in the car barn, one leg dangling idly over the edge. The wooden barn held a small steam tender Rolas had been puttering over for the past week, the large doors propped open to let a breeze into the un-air conditioned space.

Rolas was finishing lowering a superheater tube into the boiler of the small, colorfully painted narrow-gauge steam engine, his shirt off, dressed only in his shorts and a pair of heavy leather foot protectors to save his toes from being sliced off by errant bits of iron.

“This is relaxing,” he said, biceps straining under his brown pelt, paws holding on tight to the chain running through the block and tackle. He lowered the tube down the last few centimeters into its waiting slot, and then secured the loose end of the chain to a bolt set in a nearby pillar.

“It’d be more relaxing if you used a proper tractor-pressor unit to save you from all of that work,” she pointed out.

“I’m trying to use original materials and techniques while I restore this,” he replied proudly, slipping the foot protectors off and setting them on the workbench.

“The original Mr. Puff is sitting in a museum back in town. The one you’re working on is a replica that was built two hundred years ago using modern techniques,” Melanie said, hopping off the bench and pressing up against him. Rolas smelled very male today, sweating from the work and summer’s heat, with a perfume of machine oil.

“Principle’s the same,” he replied, voice a bit muffled as he nuzzled her neck. She let out a pleased purr, her tail waving happily as he pushed her back against the workbench, feeling his paw reach under her shirt to stroke her back. Yes, with just the two of them here, without even servants at this small country estate in the deep woods, well away from the nearest town, this was the most privacy they’d had since their children had gone to visit their aunts on Greenholme.

Mmmm, hmm. Less engineering, more sex,” Melanie advised, nibbling his ear tip.

Rolas snorted a laugh into her pelt. “Not even advanced hydraulics?”

“Well that I could get into…”

We interrupt this scene for a bit of family history. )
jeriendhal: (Grumpy)
OK, for those of you who didn’t know, I’m in the process of putting together The Complete Red Vixen Adventures, which have all of the primary RVA stories (Captive of the Red Vixen, Shadow of the Red Vixen, Shadow of Her Sins, Shadow of Doubt, and The Red Vixen at Sea), in addition to the side stories I Fought the Claw and the Claw Won, Solstice Gifts, The Parable of the Glassblower and an appendix with several of the worldbuilding articles I’ve written over the years, plus possibly interior illustrations if I put together a Kickstarter for the audiobook and add them as a stretch goal.

Currently the ebook version of this monster is going to be a hair over 450 pages at 12 point type.  Big, but perfectly reasonable. It’s not like it’ll add any weight to your Kindle.

Going with the same type size (to save my already terrible eyesight) in a trade paperback size, that will work out to over eleven hundred and fifty pages. Cheating and reducing the typeface to 10 point will drop it down to just over seven hundred and eighty pages. That’s frigging Stephen King and GRRM territory.

So, yeah.

Just wondering if I should still go through with this, give it up, or blind everyone with an 8 pt. typeface... 
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
Just some long delayed world building.

* * *

The major dominant religion among the foxen for the past eight to fifteen thousand years has been that of the Mother Goddess, a monotheistic creation deity that reinforces the foxen cultural norms towards matriarchal practices. As a spacefaring technological race, outsiders might expect that the foxen would be mostly atheistic or agnostic, but a surprising 65% of them express at least some religious belief, and most of that is directed towards the Mother Goddess. [1]

World Building Ahead )
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
I've been meaning to update the song Melanie sings in CotRV to something more fitting with Foxen mythology. I'm probably going to go with this.

***

The snow is Cold and biting, the Darkness black and deep.
Your footsteps grow heavy, your wounds slowly seep.
Fear drives you forward, shelter you do seek.
For there you can rest, and finally dare to sleep.

The Mother's fire guides you, if you could only see.
In Her arms she'll warm you, in fields of green.


They say the snow is endless, the sky void of stars.
The bodies of the unseeing, frozen on the ground.
You trip and stumble o'er them, no shelter to be seen.
Your chain of sin drags in the snow, you've long since lost the key.

The Mother's fire guides you, if you could only see.
In Her arms she'll warm you, in fields of green.


The smoke scent fills you nose, the spark can just be seen.
Your foot pads quicken in the snow, the pain now just a dream.
The Mother gathers you in Her embrace, and carries you like a child.
The chain falls away from your leg, your sins now reconciled.

The Mother's fire guided you, because you could still see.
Close your eyes so you may rest, in Her fields of green
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
“The Mother Goddess bless Her children on this day. On this darkest day, Winter begins. On this coldest day the sun hangs low. In the Cold and Dark we tremble, and in the Cold and Dark we see the Mother Goddess’ warming fire, and know that She and it preserve us.” the Countess Matri Darktail intoned, as Melanie watched with her husband Rolas, from the circle of witness standing around her, in Darktail Manor’s holy arbor. As was traditional, the ceremony was held in the pre-dawn twilight, witnesses from the Houses of vassal lords, from the various professions of the Service caste, and Commoners both notable and chosen at random, all watching as the Countess conducted the ceremony in nothing more than the fur she was born with, demonstrating both her piety and that they all appeared the same in the Mother Goddess’ eyes. It made Melanie grateful for the heavy coat she wore, over the curve of her gravid belly.

A time to forgive. )
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
The sun was falling into the sea when rescue finally arrived. Rolas remained face down in the sand, exhausted from his ordeal, the remains of the ardalian’s tentacle hanging from his spine like an obscene second tail. Melanie left him briefly to grab the first aid kit and walk up the stairs for the fifth bloody time to check on the wazagan. It was still shuddering and otherwise unresponsive, though it had stopped crying and muttering to herself. Melanie gave it a shot of a universal anti-shock medication, and the poor creature finally fell into an exhausted sleep.

Letting go of old pain. )
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
Fourth time's the charm, Melanie thought to herself, looking at the stairs again with distaste. But there were four tentacles in the sand, curving around the bay where the ardalian had to be hiding, leading up the stairs to the altar. She had to wonder at that. Surely there was no real reason why attaching a puppeteer tentacle to a victim had to be done at the highest point of the island. Perhaps it was a tradition. The presence of the stone altar slab certainly pointed to that.

She decided to worry about it later. For now, Melanie had a task. Even better, she could do it at the bottom of the stairs instead of climbing all the way to the top to confront the ardalian’s puppets. So she set her improvised spear into the sand, and drew out her real weapon from her pocket.

Any tool can be a weapon, in the right hands. )
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
The worst was the bit with the reef. The lifejacket’s little AI was bound and determined to keep her facing tail towards the the water, snout in the air, which made it difficult to watch and time the waves, and start kicking in a one armed backstroke as they crested the reef. She only barely managed it, feeling her tail catch in the sharp coral as she swam clear, managing to avoid by some miracle of the Mother Goddess ripping her back open on it. The retreating waves threatened to carry past the boat itself, but she managed to tangle her arms with the sail’s lines, then wrapped her arms and legs around the mast itself.

And now for the really stupid part. Feeling her fingers already growing stiff in the cold surf, she yanked at the manual release catches for the lifejacket. It let out an electronic wail of protest as she slipped off, its complaints soon carried with it away in the waves.

Diving for Chekov's Gun )
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
Sheer terror propelled Melanie back the way they had come, running away from the bay, past the dock, and back around again to Windskimmer’s next to the last resting place. She stopped there, falling to her knees by the tree with the boat’s anchor rope still wrapped around it, dislocated shoulder aching in pain.

They had captured Rolas. He was going to be turned into one of the ardalian’s puppets, unable to control his own body, his mind free to watch in horror as the creature used it. She had a horrible vision of him coming towards her, tentacle leash dragging behind him, arms outstretched, only his eyes betraying his terror as he was used to hunt her down.

No plan, no tools, no hope. )
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
Well that’s completely non-reassuring, she thought, stifling a sudden urge to giggle in hysteria. The only saving grace they had at the moment was that they were still hidden, and their opponents were both unarmed and sickly looking. Still, it’s two to one, neither of us are in full health either, and even a half-dead wazagan has a significant advantage in strength over either of us. Mother Goddess she wished she still Alinadar. Even unarmed the little bodyguard would have made short work of all these creatures.

She backed up further, rising to a crouch with Rolas as they went deeper into the trees and brush. Melanie gripped his paw tightly, listening as the quartet called out again for their surrender.

“What do we do?” Rolas asked softly, when they were perhaps ten meters distant.

Good question )
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
With a mutual yelp of surprise, they both hopped back away from the… Yes indeed, it was a tentacle, rising up out of the sand to form a curved, rubbery bar about a meter in the air in front of them, one end still leading into the ocean, the other into the trees, with lots of noisy rustling as it pushed aside more sand, leaves and fallen branches.

Melanie was the first to act, her fatigue suddenly banished in sheer terror. Grabbing Rolas by the wrist, she started dragging him into the trees, well clear of the tentacle, as the sound of something crashing through the undergrowth reached their ears. She dropped flat to the ground, Rolas beside her, as a figure emerged.

From bad to worse )

July 2017

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