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A 10 Book Layout


For the rewrite of Black Mask & Pale Rider, the series is going to end up being ten books long.  Each focusing on the location that the four elven riders will end up in.  This so far is just a layout, and it may change.

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Shani and Pania are introduced, along with their companions, Verit and Scales.  They discover the fabled gate between worlds, discuss the situation for a time, and eventually walk through.

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Shani and Pania find themselves in very different parts of a new world, as Shani learns she is in Carrolton, Arkansas, and Pania is in the young city of Chicago, Illinois.  The year is 1863.  This new nation, not yet 100 years old, is torn by war.  Shani and Pania have one goal in mind; find each other, and find a way home.

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After the two elven gunslingers meet up outside Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, they travel along the road toward a small village not far from Reading.  It turns out the village is plagued by a vampire.  Shani and Pania determine they need help, and make a call across the planes to Shani’s sister, Wren.  It is here that the three learn someone on Earth opened the gates, someone who wished to capture and enslave an elf.

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Having put down an ancient vampire, the three ride on south, stopping in the peculiar town of Franklin, West Virginia.  On the outside, it is a normal, everyday town.  But it is protected by outcast orcs, peace loving goblins, a mischievous leprechaun, and a werewolf who has become a United States Marshal.  And here in Franklin, the Devil’s Rider has come to haunt.

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The three return to their homeworld, delivering the final story of an ancient evil that plagued the elven world, as Wren presents the very story of the last years and death of this elven mage to the librarians at the House of Wisdom bordering the Desert of Semerkhet.  But they know they must return to Earth, and put an end to an even greater evil.

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The three come to Oxford, Mississippi, where a vicious band of outlaws controls the townsfolk with an iron fist.  Only the figure of J. C. Walker fights back as best he can.  This old Confederate soldier finds himself between a rock and a hard place when he accepts the assistance of Shani, Pania, and Wren, along with a Chinese migrant worker named Ming.  Can they put down the villainy that is Dorval and his boys?

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The deep south.  The three riders make it to Shreveport, Louisiana.  They follow the clues that will hopefully lead them to a powerful sorcerer and necromancer, but find themselves partnered with a newly freed slave as they investigate the strange occurrences at the Kingston Plantation.  They also meet a new ally in the lost Yoruba Elven Princess, Abisayo Temililou.

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Having transported the recently freed slaves from the Kingston Plantation across state borders and into the Free State of Indiana, the four riders hope to find some solace in Bloomington, Indiana.  What they discover is a lich.

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The experience of the Iron Horse, as the four elven gunslingers meet up with the charitable and reserved Reverend Carter Stewart.  But this train becomes a death trap that only the five can put down, as an old foe proves she wasn’t as dead as one would expect.

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The last stand.  Pania is stricken by malady.  Abisayo reaches out to those they have met through the world of dreams.  As the three elves find refuge for Pania, a group of First Nations people protects them, as Chief Whitecap agrees to find a cure for Pania.  Meanwhile, Slowhand Adams, Aurela Dorchester, Sherrif J. C. Walker, Marshal Martin Derringer, Ezekiel Morgan, Dieter van Bueren, Shontaya Jackson, Ming, and the Reverend Carter Stewart hit the trail to put an end to this evil once and for all.

Creative Commons License
The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider by Tim Holtorf is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada License.
Based on a work at http://taholtorf.wordpress.com/bmamppr/the-series/.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://taholtorf.wordpress.com/.

Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2014 in Black Mask and Pale Rider, Writing

 

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Tales of Six Gun & Sorcery FAQ


These are questions I’ve received from time to time about the work I’ve done with Black Mask & Pale Rider (Tales of Six Gun & Sorcery).  Some I’ve received as messages in different social media platforms, others have been direct face to face questions.

Why the mix of fantasy and western? Those two genres are so far apart.
Not really, they aren’t that different at all.  The only real differences is the setting and the manner of speech that we come to think with either genre.  Both are epic tales of heroes who are confronted with an epic problem and set about to over come it.  We often think that each genre is different thanks in part to where they take place or what technology is involved.  We often see a novel series like the Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks as being a fantasy series that takes place in a completely different universe.  Read the book though, and it’s a story that’s about our future.  Westerns and fantasy have been easily mixed in the past.  One of the best portrayals of this is Stephen King’s Dark Tower Series, beginning with the first book, The Gunslinger, with that ominous opening line “the man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed”.

You’re main characters are female.  Wouldn’t it be more relatable if they were male?
To whom?  We live in the 21st Century, where men and women consume media at a relatively even pace.  Women like fantasy, action, comic books, and other things that were always considered male.  Even if women weren’t an option for a reading audience, there have been successful properties that have had women as the main character in the past.  Look at the Tomb Raider series, Witchblade, Xena: Warrior Princess, and even Wonder Woman (though, we’re still waiting on a movie).  There’s a really awful thing that happens whenever a movie or book does not do well.  Those in charge believe it didn’t do well because it was showcasing a woman.  Because a woman was the lead, the movie was a bomb (Halle Berry’s Catwoman as example), when in fact the movie failed because the writing or directing was terrible (Halle Berry’s Catwoman as example).  But no one ever points to movies or books with male leads when they do terrible and say “that movie was lead by a male action hero so it was bound to fail”.
If Shani and Pania were a pair of men (even as elves), the story, while being different, would still be the same as everything else out there.

So, you’ve got two women as the leads.  Is this a Thelma and Louise type book?
On the one hand, Thelma and Louise was a great movie, it pushed boundaries and had a decent story.  The idea was great.  On the other hand, not every book or movie or television series that comes out with two women in the lead role is a Thelma and Louise clone.

One of your characters is a lesbian.  I don’t think that’s appropriate for younger readers?
I don’t think conservatives are very appropriate to Christianity.  Yes, Pania is a lesbian.  No, there is not any sex scenes.  There is implied and hinted sex, but nothing in your face.  Which, if I had any talent at writing erotica I might do, but I don’t, so I leave it as implied.  There’s also a lot of violence in the book.  People getting shot and killed, beaten up, skewered with a rapier, stabbed with daggers.  Yet, there’s not a complaint about that, just that Pania happens to be a lesbian.

There really weren’t any female gunslingers during the era of the Civil War.  That’s not really historically accurate.
This is a fantasy western.  With elves, and magic, and a U.S. Marshal who happens to be a centuries old werewolf, there’s a vampire, and a lich, and undead.  And even with the historical accuracies, there were women who were gun fighters.  Annie Oakley is one of the more famous, and just because she could do what a man could do, she was branded a trick shooter.  Even Calamity Jane, who was a professional scout and frontierswoman, was called a trick shooter.  Historical accuracies would deem that the majority of the gunslingers in the book should be Native American and African American.  Even some of the lawmen should be African American.  The bottom line, this is a work of fiction, and fantasy fiction at that.  Historical accuracy isn’t something I’m too worried about, though I do want to make sure when I mention a town’s name that it did indeed exist in 1863.

You’ve mentioned your changing things up in the rewrite.  Why?
Diversity.  Diversity matters.  Shani was never identified as being Metis, or half Mohawk, but pointing that out is important.  Making Clayton an escaped slave and a gunslinger brings about something different as opposed to generic stubbly white guy.  Mixing things up, adding people of different backgrounds, makes for a unique story.  But it still has to be done well, and you have to try and steer clear of some of the obvious tropes and stereotypes.  You’ll never get away from every single trope, but you can make an effort to avoid the obviously offensive ones.

You’re adding two characters to the rewrite?
Yes.  Shani’s sister, Wren, and later on, Abisayo, who is a Yoruba elf.  Wren is obviously Metis, or half Mohawk.  First, it’s to add diversity.  I remember reading an article about why people of colour are never cast for the elves in a movie like Lord of the Rings, but they sure get cast as the orcs.  Elves aren’t a Eurocentric idea, the Iroquois and Mohawk have their own folklore about elves.  Every culture has folklore which is similar.  As Africa is so close to Europe as it is, there was a very good chance that stories of elves migrated south and were changed to seem more familiar to an audience in Northern African nations.  After all, dragons are a very ubiquitous notion as there are folktales in Europe and Eastern Asia about dragons.  Why is it so hard to conceive that maybe, some of the fairy tale creatures that we assume are European, were also told in some form in Africa or Asia or North America.
There’s also another reason for adding the two characters.  I really wanted to show case good relationships between women.  Strong friendships, good family ties, sisterly love, and, shamelessly I wanted to give Pania a love interest.

Will this mean the book is getting longer?
Most definitely.  It means it’ll probably be more than one book.

Do you ever think that this would be a cool movie?
Sure!  I even have given a list of actors and actresses I’d love for the roles.  But for now, I’d love it if people read the book, and hopefully enjoy it.  I’ve received several good comments about the premise and I’m pleased with that.  Obviously I can do much more to improve it.

Are you afraid it’ll get banned?
No, not really.  If it gets banned in certain locations, it’ll happen.  Lots of books have been banned for absolutely silly reasons.  I’d be impressed if the book was banned because there’s violence in it, but realistically it’ll be banned because there’s a lesbian character.  That’s pretty sad, when you stop and think about it.

Have you always liked female characters?
I have.  I’ve felt drawn to them for different reasons in my life.  They just felt more alive and very different than what was seen as the norm.  It’s hard for a male writer (which I am) to write a female character than a male character.  I know what it’s like to be a dude, so I’m pretty confident in writing dudes.

What’s your biggest inspiration for this book?
The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King, along with Dungeons & Dragons (especially 2nd Edition, Combat and Tactics, Skills and Powers, and the Neverwinter Nights video game).

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2014 in Black Mask and Pale Rider, Writing

 

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Tales of Six Gun & Sorcery


Tales of Six Gun & Sorcery.

This tumblog will be dedicated to all the things I’m writing in the world of Black Mask & Pale Rider, hence forth known as Tales of Six Gun & Sorcery.  This is a writing blog.  Here, images done by myself and Clarissa Renee Hummel (who did all of the artwork for the original publication of The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider), along with original drafts of the work and poetry will be posted.  New information will be posted as well, as it’s made available.

It’s a new tumblog dedicated entirely to the writing of Black Mask & Pale Rider.  From displaying artwork, to reposting the original pdf downloads, and even putting up new information as it comes.  From poetry to prose, this will be the place for all things related to the gunslinging elves.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2014 in Black Mask and Pale Rider, Writing

 

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Tales of Six Gun & Sorcery: The Consoler


The following is a short story to help give an idea of the motivations of each characters that appear in the Black Mask & Pale Rider series.  All will be written in the first person. This is Wren Wennemein.

Creative Commons License
The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider by Tim Holtorf is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada License.
Based on a work at http://taholtorf.wordpress.com/bmamppr/the-series/.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://taholtorf.wordpress.com/

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2014 in Black Mask and Pale Rider, Writing

 

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Hey Sister


thefourriders

Hey Sister! Know the water’s sweet, but blood is thicker.
Oh, if the sky comes fallin’ down, for you
There’s nothin’ in this world I wouldn’t do…

Using my characters from Guild Wars 2, here are the Four Riders.

Wren Wennemein: The Consoler, the caregiver, the guardian, the defender, the sister.

Shani Wennemein: The Shadow Walker, the thief, the rogue, the adventurer, the sister.

Pania Alow: The Herald, the bard, the mesmerizer, the enchanter, the evoker, the lover.

Abisayo Temililou: The Paladin, the maker, the engineer, the champion, the princess, the lover.

What if I loose it all?
Oh, Sister, I will help you back home
Oh, if the sky comes fallin’ down, for you
There’s nothin’ in this world I wouldn’t do…

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2014 in Black Mask and Pale Rider, Writing

 

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Tales of Six Gun & Sorcery: The Paladin


The following is a short story to help give an idea of the motivations of each characters that appear in the Black Mask & Pale Rider series.  All will be written in the first person.  This is Abisayo Temililou.

Creative Commons License
The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider by Tim Holtorf is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada License.
Based on a work at http://taholtorf.wordpress.com/bmamppr/the-series/.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://taholtorf.wordpress.com/

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2014 in Black Mask and Pale Rider, Writing

 

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Tales of Six Gun & Sorcery: The Shadow Walker


The following is a short story to help give an idea of the motivations of each characters that appear in the Black Mask & Pale Rider series.  All will be written in the first person.  This is Shani Wennemein.

Creative Commons License
The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider by Tim Holtorf is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada License.
Based on a work at http://taholtorf.wordpress.com/bmamppr/the-series/.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://taholtorf.wordpress.com/.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2014 in Black Mask and Pale Rider, Writing

 

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It’s the day after my birthday, so…


…shameless self promotion!

From time to time I’ll post up information about the first book I’ve written, called theAdventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider.  Here’s a little synopsis about the book, which is a western/fantasy.

Elven magic meets gunslinger grit. What happens when two elven travellers find themselves in the United States in the middle of the Civil War? The Adventures of Black Mask and Pale Rider tells the story of two elven women who’s curiosity gets the better of them.

The wild ride takes them from the Union to the Confederacy and back again. Along the way they make enemies and friends and learn a little bit about this world, and about themselves. An adventure of six guns and sorcery.

The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider isn’t the only book I’ve written, Canyons of Steel is also available.  Here’s a quick synopsis.

What happens when an old gun hand makes a decision to turn his life around and set a new course? In Canyons of Steel, Johnathon Tiberius Walker makes the choice of turning his back on the underground military of the Red Hand and try to make right his own sins. All because he wants his daughter to live in a better world than he does.

Both my first book, Black Mask & Pale Rider, and my second book, Canyons of Steel, are available for purchase online through many different online book sellers.

Lulu.com (where both books were published)

  1. Tim Holtorf Author Spotlight the front page store for my books on lulu.com.

Amazon.com (both in paperback and in kindle versions)

  1. The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider
  2. Canyons of Steel

Amazon.co.uk (both in paperback and in kindle versions)

  1. The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider
  2. Canyons of Steel

Amazon.ca (price not listed and currently out of stock)

  1. Canyons of Steel

Barnes & Noble (for the Nook)

  1. The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider

iTunes iBook store

  1. The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider

At present, I am working on a science fiction adventure called Rocket Fox.  If things go as planned, it should cover nine books in total.

 

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Tales of Six Gun & Sorcery: The Five Archetypes


As I’ve been reworking and rewriting the Black Mask & Pale Rider series, I came to realize that each of the four characters has an archetype.  I also came up with a story to sandwich in between two of the existing pieces which brings out a fifth elf into the mix.  At that point, I had to define and be clear about their actions and motivations.  Based on their professions (or classes) and based on their own view of the world.

Here are the five archetypes.

Shani Wennemein – The Shadow Walker

The shadow walker is one who can disappear at will.  Hiding in plain sight is one of their greatest defenses.  Shani learned this as she wished to take up the protector position of her mother’s people, the Mohawk elves.  Shadow walkers are also adept at picking locks, finding and disabling traps, back stabbing, dodging incoming attacks, and daring feats of acrobatics, using the shadows to their advantage.  Even in the light of day, there is a shadow.  Shani even has the ability to take someone with her, in a defensive measure to protect the individual.  Shadow Walkers prefer light weapons, short bows, daggers, short swords, and small axes (and in Shani’s case, pistols).

Pania Alow – The Herald

Heralds are the story tellers.  They introduce figures of importance in royal courts, regale listeners of the history of such figures and can even perform magical enchantments.  That’s more for the showmanship of a Herald.  Heralds are also skilled sword fighters, choosing a lighter weapon like a foil, rapier, or cutlass.  Their magic is not limited to mere enchantments, as each becomes attuned to a different magical discipline.  In Pania’s case, the evocation of destructive fire, able to cast fireballs, use flaming fists, fire sword, flame kissed sword, and fire whips.  Their abilities are rather deceptive, for as the story teller, they appear very charming and playful.  But behind all of that is a destructive force that can be used to protect allies, and destroy enemies.

Wren Wennemein – The Consoler

The Consoler is a storied profession that has a great number of well known figures.  The most recent is Wren.  Guardians against evil, they protect the innocent either directly with their weapon, or with their healing magic.  Trained equally as healers and warriors, the Consoler specializes their focus to strike out at the undead.  To ensure that a recent death does not rise up to walk the earth, Consolers will lead in the burial rituals and comfort the families.  They will write these down and take the transcripts deep into the desert of Semerkhet where they are placed in the Abbasid Library (named for her sister on Earth).  Consolers can call upon a wide range of spells to fight against the undead and against evil.  For Wren, she has mastered the Sword of Light; a powerful enchantment that causes her blade to glow like the sun, blinding her enemies; Ethereal Shield, which is used to protect those who cannot fight against the coming tide; Divine Breath of Fire, a spell granted to each Consoler by the gods themselves, as the Consoler can unleash a fiery breath, vanquishing evil in their path; and Divine Right, for Wren is used when she plunges her longsword into the ground, a cascade of brilliant light will explode from her being which will eat away and destroy the weakest of undead.

Abisayo Temililou – The Paladin

Each culture has their holy warriors, and the Yoruba elves are no different.  Paladins are often charged to create their own weapons, making certain that the weapon they chose fits to their form.  As the weapon is crafted, the paladin will recite a poem from memory in a way to imbue their own spirit within the blade.  That way, should the weapon be used in an immoral manner, the paladin will feel the pain equally when used against any target.  Paladins may have differences in spells, all of which are divine based on their own religion and culture.  But many are similar, and many have the same abilities as Consolers (though, not as powerful).  One standard holds true with all Paladins; defend first, never attack.  To draw your weapon in anger, is to anger the gods themselves and do dishonour to yourself.

Helena of Mystos – The Beserker Soldier

Beserker Soldiers are only found in the city state of Mystos, in an island chain between two of the elven world’s eastern continents.  Mystos was a sister to the city states of Athens, Troy, Sparta, Rome and others through the height of the Roman Empire.  For Helena, she became a Beserker Soldier while in the ranks of the army that defends the city state.  Lead by the General Queen, Trianna N’Tir, this army is entirely made up of women.  They are the Furies, and any who would dare to invade their territory would not live long, even if they retreated in fear.  Beserker Soldiers are part of the front line columns of the Furies, backed by skilled archers, and can often run as fast as mounted cavalry.  They are experts in strategy, and they crave battle.  But they do not use their rage without tempering it with wisdom.  Each Beserker seems to have a switch, where they increase their speed, strength and stamina.  This only lasts for fifteen minutes, but any who get in their way dies quickly and painfully.  In order to not kill their allies, they are given sight which allows them to identify friend from foe.  This has the unfortunate effect of making their eyes glow red.  When their rage ends, they are often left in a weakened state, but many do continue to fight.

Those are the five archetype classes of the Black Mask & Pale Rider series (it’ll be interesting to weave them into a wild west story).  Later, I’ll post the motivations of each of the five main characters (there’s five now, thanks to Helena).

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2014 in Black Mask and Pale Rider, Writing

 

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It’s May! Which means…


…shameless self promotion!

From time to time I’ll post up information about the first book I’ve written, called theAdventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider.  Here’s a little synopsis about the book, which is a western/fantasy.

Elven magic meets gunslinger grit. What happens when two elven travellers find themselves in the United States in the middle of the Civil War? The Adventures of Black Mask and Pale Rider tells the story of two elven women who’s curiosity gets the better of them.

The wild ride takes them from the Union to the Confederacy and back again. Along the way they make enemies and friends and learn a little bit about this world, and about themselves. An adventure of six guns and sorcery.

The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider isn’t the only book I’ve written, Canyons of Steel is also available.  Here’s a quick synopsis.

What happens when an old gun hand makes a decision to turn his life around and set a new course? In Canyons of Steel, Johnathon Tiberius Walker makes the choice of turning his back on the underground military of the Red Hand and try to make right his own sins. All because he wants his daughter to live in a better world than he does.

Both my first book, Black Mask & Pale Rider, and my second book, Canyons of Steel, are available for purchase online through many different online book sellers.

Lulu.com (where both books were published)

  1. Tim Holtorf Author Spotlight the front page store for my books on lulu.com.

Amazon.com (both in paperback and in kindle versions)

  1. The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider
  2. Canyons of Steel

Amazon.co.uk (both in paperback and in kindle versions)

  1. The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider
  2. Canyons of Steel

Amazon.ca (price not listed and currently out of stock)

  1. Canyons of Steel

Barnes & Noble (for the Nook)

  1. The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider

iTunes iBook store

  1. The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider

At present, I am working on a science fiction adventure called Rocket Fox.  If things go as planned, it should cover nine books in total.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

 
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