Thursday, February 17, 2011

Assorted Formspring Questions pt. 8

What's the first thing that you usually notice about someone you meet?

If they are on fire.

What do you call a sentient anus that goes around arguing with people & insulting them?

My brother.

Wolverine or Van Hesling?

Are you kidding? Wolverine. Even that shitty X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie was better than Val Hesling. Why the hell did Dracula have DINKs?

If time travel exists, doesn't that mean that no one really dies? That they're still alive but only in the past?


Is there a term for when someone trolls knowing that no one can respond to them? Is that a troll or just an asshole?

I think that's called "Drowing"

How does magic work in your books? How is it powered? Is it like ley lines or extradimensional etc?

Good question!

First of all, it isn't called magic in my books. Or magik, magaek or anything like that. It is generally referred to as sorcery. Magic is a term used for pallor tricks, prestidigitation or minor illusions. These very rarely involve anything arcane, and are usually done for entertainment. Actual arcanists, wizards and sorcerers take offense to having what they do called magic. Of course, they can rarely do anything about it since they are required to remain secret.

Sorcery is defined as the ritual manipulation of arcane energy to effect a change in reality. Without giving away too much, arcane energy is an element is creation that lacks any sort of order or direction. A sorcerer learns to harness these energies and give them direction. How, why and to what end depends on the particular sorcerer and the order to which they belong--if any.

This energy doesn't follow the same laws of physics to which the Universe is subject. For example, arcane energy in certain quantities is self-perpetuating. So, if you have a certain amount of it contained, it will essentially keep making more of itself until it can no longer be held back and bursts its confines. This is in direct opposition to natural energy, which slowly dissipates over time. As such, a sorcerer can have a ready supply of arcane energy for spellcasting contained in some manner of receptacle. So long as he uses it regularly (but not overuse it) or allows it to "bleed" the excess from time to time, it won't ever run out. This is dangerous, however: unharnessed arcane energy reacts violently upon contact with an ordered universe. So, the receptacle has to be kept safe, usually by a spell that protects it from breaking, like a force field. Since the spell to power the field requires energy to power it, the receptacle can be "programmed" to fill this role. Therefore, a shielded receptacle takes care of itself in preventing it's over-filling.

Arcane energy is stronger in some parts of the world than others. Though seemingly random, it usually manifests stronger in places where humans don't live. It is theorized by arcanists that having too many humans around is destructive to the energy, though there really isn't any way to test this as the effect only occurs over long periods of time, and there are exceptions of places which many people and high levels of energy. These places are connected by lines of energy, which could be thought of as ley lines. Trained sorcerers can find these lines, but sometimes they thin out to the point that they are almost undetectable. If a sorcerer is too far from one of these nexus points or "lines" to power whatever spell they intend to cast, they have to rely on energy stored in the manner explained above.

Not everyone is capable of these manipulations, however. Only certain people are born with the ability to harness these energies. There aren't many of them, but it is genetic so people who practice sorcery professionally are encouraged (sometimes required, depending on the order to which they belong) to marry and breed with other who are so gifted. Occasionally, a child of two sorcerers is born without the ability, which is considered tragic but not shameful. However, a child born with the ability who does not take advantage of their gifts is considered a black sheep and usually ostracized by the arcane community--and often his or her family.

There are many forms of sorcery and practitioners of it in my books. Here are a few, along with their accompanying style or field of study. This is not by any means an all inclusive list of forms of sorcery.

Arcanist - A general practitioner of sorcery, one who doesn't specialize in any particular field or theme. This is considered an "easy road" by most sorcerers, who tend to specialize--despite the fact that it is actually very difficult to master due to splitting studies between a variety of subject.

Temporal Arcanics - A small, often controversial field involving the manipulation of time. There are no specialists in this field, but occasionally a specialist in a related field (like Divination) will also take an interest in temporal sorcery.

Bioarcanics - Sorcery that exclusively effects physiological processes like aging, healing, sleep and other biological functions. Bioarcanicists are usually able to slow aging or repair injuries. Experienced practitioners have been known to alter physical makeup drastically, such as reattaching (or regenerating) severed limbs, giving someone a new face or even changing gender. This would seem like an extremely powerful form of sorcery; why shoot someone if you can just make their heart stop? Fortunately, bioarcanics generally requires a willing participant, as the spells take a very long time to cast and usually require multiple applications to effect drastic transformations.

Summoning - Simply the calling (and controlling) of beings from other planes of existence...usually the Void. This is a very dangerous field of sorcery, as the creatures being called generally don't appreciate it very much. A summoner usually doesn't get a chance to mess up twice. Or they can summon a being and just let them do whatever they want. If this is done for destructive purposes, the summoner usually tries to be as far away from the entity as possible when it arrives and is careful to cover it's tracks. Summoners can also force beings to leave a plane or possessed body. Summoners who specialize in this are called exorcists.

Necromancy - A split from bioarcanics, necromancers learn to manipulate the biological functions of other by force. Necromancers can generally do most of the same things as bioarcanist, but usually in reverse and by force. So, for example, while a bioarcanist might be able to remove a disease from a willing subject, a necromancer could inflict the disease on a target and accelerate it a fatal point. This field gets its name from the ability necromancer gain to manipulate the bio-functions of dead creatures. They can reanimate corpses (zombies) and extract information from a corpse so long as most of the brain matter is still intact. Necromancers are rare, and generally detested by other types of sorcerers because of they give the whole art of sorcery a bad name.

Binder - Technically not its own school, binders are sorcerers who specialize in summoning entities and forcing them to possess their body. Using powerful sorcery to keep those "bound" under control, the binder gains many of the entities powers without having to relinquish control to them. This is exceedingly dangerous, and as such there aren't many of them around.

Divination - Sorcery used to find information. There are several means of doing so, including remote viewing, consulting with beings who may have witnessed certain events, or looking into a possible future. By far the most common form of sorcery, as it is incredibly useful and there are so many practitioners of it that it is easy to find a competent tutor.

What's your typing speed?

A lot.

Magnificent. How is this not a movie already?

You find yourself in a dark alley under attack from a gang of thugs, you may draw one weapon, which may be any weapon from any TV show, film, book or comic. Choose wisely.

Mojinir. Assuming I'm worthy of the powers of Thor. If not, then one of those Super Sledges from Fallout.


Sometimes. I get in the right mood and just clean and organize fanatically.


It's probably just fantasy. Something about a landslide...

Which band or singer is the easiest for you to sing along with? By easiest I don't mean your favorite band/singer I mean which group that you enjoy is most approachable for singing with. For this question rap & growling vocals each count as singing.

Probably Danzig, just because I know so many of the lyrics and the songs are fun to sing. I don't usually sing along with the artist, though.

Has there ever been an explanation in the comic books as to why there are so many blue mutants in Marvel Comics? E.g. Mystique, Nightcrawler, Beast (I know he wasn't always blue), Archangel (also turned blue),

Blue looks pretty.

Who liked the Darth Vader ad. The Bud Lite Western and then the Eminem American car commercial. What was your favorite?

House striking a child.

What car, sponsor and bumper sticker would your pick for your NASCAR?

What's NASCAR?

Riddle me this: What do you call a state run by roosters that don't believe in private property?


what's your bra size?

I have a lot of bras, bra. Most of them are smaller than me. Or at least shorter. I think Aaron and Paul are taller than me, but most of the rest of them are shorter and smaller. So, I can't give a definite average bra size, bra.

Y O U A R E B E A U T I F U L !

I know.

There is nothing cool about that and I hate you.

    Can vampirism be spread through sex like other blood-borne diseases?

    Yes, but it's unlikely. Unless you're having really bloody sex with a vamp, in which case they'll probably just feel like biting you.

    I love that picture of you. But that's not a question...this is my question. Would you ever include unicorns in your stories? :P

    Aw, thank you! And who told you to ask me that? My friends used to bug me about unicorns in my books. I've sworn that I wouldn't ever use least, not in the Dragon's Blood Chronicles or any series that spun off from them. I may someday be tempted to try my hand at high fantasy or be contracted to write for Wizards of the Coast or something that would involve unicorns. But, as it stands now, unicorns aren't really my thing.

    How come the green power ranger gets a fucking dragon? That's not fucking fair.

    Technically it wasn't a dragon. It was just a robot shaped like a dragon.

    Is this statement a correct interpretation of statistics: "If a healthy adult goes septic, there is a 70% chance they will DIE. That means take 100 healthy adults & make them all septic. Of those 100 healthy adults, 70 of them will die."

    No. Each individual human would have a 70% chance of dying, irrespective of how many humans around him were also septic. However, if you did this many, many times with 100 different humans, a bell curve would emerge in which the center of the bell would be 70 dead, with outliers on the two tails of the curve (one where they all died, and one where none did)

    Once your Dragon's Blood Chronicles et al. are published what happens if you have a story that isn't fantasy, urban fantasy, or sci fi? Would you have to publish it through the same company? What if they only publish the above listed genres?

    I don't really have an answer for that. I guess it would depend just how far outside the realm of my main body of works the story fell. I don't really know, but it wouldn't be the first time a writer has strayed from their genre and done well with the same publisher.

    Why do Darrell Hammond & Bill Hader look so blurry?

    You're standing too close.

    Is there an innocent, every-day activity that makes you irrationally horny?

    I wouldn't call it an "innocent" activity, per se.

    Is it true that Twilight is a rip off of The Wyvern Mystery?

    I don't know what that is, but probably.

    Did they have subsonic rounds in the old west?

    Most handgun rounds in the "Old West" were subsonic. The sound barrier is 1,126 ft/s. Any round under that is considered sub-sonic, as in it doesn't break the sound barrier and therefore doesn't cause a sonic boom. This doesn't necessarily mean the bullet is quiet. The whole process of firing a gun involves creating an explosive expansion of gas, which is usually very loud. The classic cowboy era handgun round was the .45 Colt (aka .45 Long Colt) used in the famous Colt Single Action Army pistol (the Peacemaker) among others. Using black powder loads (smokeless powder wasn't available until later) this round typically maxed out at around 1000 ft/s. Other handgun rounds of the era (and their average ft/s) include the .38 Long Colt (around 775 ft/s), the .45 Schofield (710-730 ft/s depending on powder load) and the .44 Russian (750 ft/s).

    Conversely, most rifle rounds were ultrasonic, like the popular .50-70 Gov/t. With a 550 grain round, it easily exceeded the sound barrier at 1,375 ft/s. It's replacement, the .44-70 matched these speeds. Another popular round, the .44-40 Win was commonly used in rifles at the time, and just barely broke the sound barrier at 1,245 ft/s. The .44-40 was eventually offered in handguns by Remington and Colt. I don't have any ballistics on the handgun version of these rounds, which despite being identical to the rifle rounds would travel slower due to the shorter barrel of a handgun compared to a rifle or carbine.

    So, in short, when it comes to Old West rounds, with very rare exception the handgun rounds are subsonic, while most rifle rounds are ultrasonic.

    No one likes this but you, Joe