scargen blog


Inspiration is one of those things that is hard to quantify. I remember a few things in the first book that just popped in my head because of something I saw on TV or in a movie, a song perhaps. One such thing happened to me when I was designing the cover of the first book. The original cover has gotten it's fair share of use mind you, but you never know when you will surprise yourself. I spent three months plus working on this animated version of the main character in a climactic scene from the end of The Shadow of the Gauntlet. Thomas Scargen is standing on the head of a lava troll in a pool of magma, while cherry blossoms float down from the sky. I loved the imagery, and I thought it would be a great cover. So I sat at my Cintiq, and I worked on that thing, sweating every detail. I began to make these symbols on the back of the book for fun at first. I was simply making images and then erasing parts to try and make futuristic but ancient looking glyphs, with no real intention, but one of them stood out to me. I just kept staring at it. I was astonished that I had created something so simple but eyecatching. I remember when the thought dawned on me that all my work on the cover was going to be replaced with a simple symbol. I told Christine, and she couldn't believe it. I couldn't either, but something told me to go with it. I needed a symbol anyway and the fates had brought me one. Who was I to refuse it? The original had a drop shadow and the colors were not as vibrant, but the idea was there. After a few passes with a brighter orange and then finally ditching the drop shadow for a more graphic look. It was then that I realized that we had a brand. This symbol would be The Shadow of the Gauntlet and represent the website, and look pretty narsh on a Tshirt or the back of a stop sign. 

I had a moment like this this week while working on notes for the second book The Dragon Within. It wasn't as revolutionary, but it did make my mind stop and reset itself. It had to do with plot and setting. I was watching Anthony Bourdain, and he was in Vietnam and it hit me . . . I can't tell you what it is unfortunately, but needless to say it made it into the next book, and it simplified and streamlined the plot. Anyway, that's all for tonight. I have to get to sleep. I have to get my picture taken tomorrow for the article that will be coming out in the Bucks County Courier Times, and like the ass I am, I have a cut across my nose from slamming my face into a stainless steel pan at work. It's okay though. That, coupled with the kitten's scratch marks all over my knuckles, makes me look pretty tough. Until next time Scargenites.

Watching: Elementary-this show is awesome and every bit as good as Sherlock on the BBC. Both of these guys are doing an incredible job playing the consulting detective. 

Also watching: The Taste-I'm a sucker for a good cooking show.

Reading: Just started The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander. This is a book I read as a kid. It's the first in a series of 5, and I think everyone that likes fantasy should check them out. Pretty quick reads and worth your time. The author was a nice man as well that took the time to write back when three boys wrote a sequel to his book.

Playing: The Simpsons Tapped Out, but it's dragging right now.

Oh and by the way: I'm up for Best Author in Hunterdon County, which is the county I live in. I have some real competition in my county though and would really appreciate the help if you have a few seconds. You can VOTE here.

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