The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #264: Starting the Recording Process for “Once Upon a Dream” and Custom Minifigure Making

Episode #264: Starting the Recording Process for “Once Upon a Dream” and Custom Minifigure Making

https://archive.org/download/podcast-264/Podcast%20264.mp3

This week, I’m working up and wrapping up few concurrent projects – starting the recording of the backing track for “Once Upon a Dream” discussed last on episode 261 and finishing up a little “kitbashed” minifigure of Aurora from The Thirteenth Hour discussed a bit last episode. The magnet dolls discussed last episode are in the editing process, so I’ll be printing those out soon!

magnet doll clothes

One of Aurora’s costumes is this one from a picture in the book:

I’ve been working on a custom miniature of Aurora in this outfit made from a few different Wonder Woman mini figures.

I ended up using parts from all three different verions of these little Wonder Women to make the figure, plus some Apoxie Sculpt clay and paint.  These are the pics from last week. Here’s what the finished figure looks like:

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There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If the past few months have got you needing a break, you may want to chill out to this 80s synth throwback track for a upcoming LP with the accompanying music video:

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #263: Making Thirteenth Hour Magnet Dolls 1

Episode #263: Making Thirteenth Hour Magnet Dolls 1

https://archive.org/download/podcast-263/Podcast%20263.mp3

This week, I’m talking about a side project – making little magnet dress-up dolls of Logan and Aurora from The Thirteenth Hourfor my kids.  The idea is that you start with a 2D character (that is magnetic or metal) in their underwear and then add clothes (which are thin, flat magnets) on top.  Basically, it’s a dress-up toy.

I actually did a little research into what people from ancient cultures wore for underwear, and the results were quite fascinating in a way, since they tended to mirror social attitudes of the day, especially for women.   (If you’re curious, here are some of the sources I looked at.  Given that not many of these undergarments have survived, it’s mostly historical speculation, but learning about what might have been worn in ancient Greece and Rome, ancient China, and the European middle ages was still quite interesting).

In any event, since the world of The Thirteenth Hour is fantasy (with a few intentional anachronisms like matches, flush toilets, and flying hoverboards thrown in for convenience or self referential humor) and not really based on anything historical, I figured I could take whatever artistic licenses I wanted.  Still, when I was originally designing the costumes, I did give some thought to working around things we sometimes take for granted in our world (like elastic, which requires rubber – not always so easy to come by, and zippers, which requires a mechanized world or at least factories capable of mass producing intricate parts to the point that they can be found on clothes for everyday people).

So – that’s a long way of saying that I gave Logan and Aurora rather generic skivvies that might have been found in the ancient past but could still have been something that would have offered equal measures of comfort and support.  If nothing else, I wanted my characters to be comfortable!

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I’ll post more as I make progress in production.  Eventually, I’ll scan in all the pictures to edit them digitally and figure out a way to print them out on magnetic sheets.

One of Aurora’s costumes is this one from a picture in the book:

I’ve been working on a custom miniature of Aurora in this outfit made from a few different Wonder Woman mini figures.

More in the coming weeks!

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There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If the past few months have got you needing a break, you may want to chill out to this 80s synth throwback track for a upcoming LP with the accompanying music video:

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #252 and Like a Hood Ornament 12: Welcome back Jeremy, Max, and Antonio – Nirvana Pilot Yume Redux and Fragments of the Past (Part 2/2)

Episode #252 and Like a Hood Ornament 12: Welcome back Jeremy, Max, and Antonio – Nirvana Pilot Yume Redux and Fragments of the Past (Part 2/2)

https://archive.org/download/podcast-252/Podcast%20252.mp3

On this week’s show, my brother, Jeremy, and I continue the conversation with European game developer team Dev9k (Massimiliano ‘Haematinon’ Nigro and Antonio Scacchetti), who, aside from last week, were last on the show in episode 123.  At the time, they had recently released the 80s anime / Skyroads inspired video game, Nirvana Pilot Yume, for the PC.  Today, we’re mostly discussing Massimiliano’s recent fantasy art book, Fragments of the Past, including how his world came to be, how he did his illustrations, how myth holds up a mirror to reality, and the extensive role historical research had in the creation of the world in the story.

Below are some pictures from the book.  According to Max, aside from the research entailed, the paintings, on average, took about a week to do.

The beautiful poem that Max reads at the end of the show, “The Last Fragment” is here.  The imagery reminds be a lot of the poem “Kubla Khan” by Samuel Coleridge (about Xanadu).

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In the intro, I discuss a few segments from The Smithsonian Book of Flight by Walter Boyne, where Hermes, the Greek messenger of the Gods, was often featured in the golden age of aviation when it came to flight. Here’s an art deco painting from the book showing Hermes leading zeppelins and airplanes into the future:

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I’ve also been meaning to do this for weeks given the name of this segment of the podcast (“Like a Hood Ornament”) but never got around to having a segment on actual art deco hood ornaments from the era that tie Greek mythology (Icarus, perhaps?) to flight.  Here are some reputedly from a late 1920s Cadillac LaSalle.  You can find these on Etsy as well as auction sites.

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There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished one year ago, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #230: 2020 Goals and Making of the Rocketeer Minifigure Part 1

Episode #230: 2020 Goals and Making of the Rocketeer Minifigure Part 1

https://archive.org/download/podcast230_202001/Podcast%20230.mp3

Happy new year, everyone!  During this episode, I reflect a little on what happened in 2019 and what I’d like to do in the coming year:

  • con’t working on The Thirteenth Hour sequel draft
  • finish painting the Aurora and Lightning resin minifigures
  • continue collaborating with a number of fellow podcasters whose work I’ve enjoyed (more below)
  • publish a second Thirteenth Hour soundtrack to compliment Long Ago Not So Far Away (a few more tracks to go)
  • continue the D and D campaign my brother and I were doing
  • and finish this belated Xmas present for my daughter, a little resin Rocketeer figure (she got interested in the original Rocketeer after watching the animated series that launched this past November – most of the episode is actually spent discussing how that came to be so I’ll just put some pictures here of the progress to date):

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This slideshow requires JavaScript.

At some point, I will make a little video showing the creation of the figure as well as making the mold as well as the casting process – parts I had the most questions on when I was just learning how to make resin figurines.

I wanted to give a shout out to some fellow creative folks out there who work I’m glad to have found in the past year!  In some cases, I had the pleasure of working with them this past year, in some cases not yet.  The hardest part of podcasting is meshing schedules, so collaborations are always tricky to arrange, so I’m grateful to whatever we’ve been able to do (or will do in this upcoming year).  I mentioned most of these folks on the show but not all – more to come in 2020!

Happy new year and best wishes in all your creative pursuits in 2020!

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There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished one year ago, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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Now Available! Thirteenth Hour Throwing Cards – Instructional Kit and Handmade Training Cards

Now you, too, can throw playing cards like you favorite superpowered mutant.  Like I mentioned in this previous post, it’s not hard to learn to throw playing cards like Logan does in The Thirteenth Hour.  But it does help to know a little about the technique and have the right cards.

Wait no longer.  Thirteenth Hour throwing cards are now here.  You throw heavier, more rigid cards first in order to get the technique down, then work your way down to lighter cards until you;re throwing regular playing cards.  This kit is essentially a pair of “training wheels” to jump start your throwing while keeping your confidence up and frustration low.  They’re handmade and contain pictures from The Thirteenth Hour and come in different weights:

1.) laminated cards with Thirteenth Hour illustrations (weigh 5 g each) x 2
2.) unlaminated cards with Thirteenth Hour illustrations (weigh 3 g each) x 3
3.) regular playing cards (weigh 1 g each) x 3

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So you start with #1, then go to #2 when you have the throw down, then go to #3 when #2 is too easy.  At that point, you’ll be able to use a regular deck of playing cards you can find anywhere.

Comes with a set of instructions showing the basic throw and grip variations.

You can get them on the eBay store here or on my Square online store here.

UPDATE (2/15/16): Well, the first time I posted these on eBay, they were removed since eBay doesn’t allow weapons to be sold, and I guess “throwing cards” were flagged as potential implements of destruction.  It probably goes without staying, but I’ll paraphrase what’s said on the packaging on the cards themselves:

These aren’t intended as weapons!  Even in the book, Logan uses them as a distraction.  The idea that could you could seriously injure someone from thrown paper playing cards is not without its legends (see the original post for a book by magician Ricky Jay about it), but if you have any doubts, check out this Mythbusters episode where the myth of the lethal throwing card gets busted.  Ricky Jay actually makes a cameo as well).  However, you should still exercise caution, since if you get really good, you can cause small paper cuts, and walls and doors may get chipped.  That said, these are primarily novelty items.  If you’re seriously looking at them as a way of defending yourself, I wish I could say different, but there are many, many more effective ways!!  Throwing cards for self defense is probably best left in the realm of fantasy unless done for distraction, like Logan did in the book.  Of course, a handful or dirt or some coins to the face would do the same with much less practice, too.

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This clip, posted on Instagram and on the Youtube channel, shows the creation of the drawing used for the label:

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UPDATE (2/18/16): There’s now a video showing the cards in action!

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The Evolution of a Thirteenth Hour Illustration

Inspiration is an odd thing.  The muse comes, I find, at the oddest of times.  Sometimes she stays for fleeting moments; other times, she lingers for days.

When I was writing the passage below for The Thirteenth Hour, I thought it needed an accompanying image:

“… I’ll always remember the time we spent on those lonely strips of land. The night sky was beautiful there. I’d looked up at the night sky all my life, but this was the first time I really saw it. Looking up and seeing only a lifeless void of blackness whose only light came from tiny perforations in the alabaster mantle may seem frightening and lonely. And it was, at first. But it was comforting, too, because the sky, the open space, the wild terrain, it only accepted, it never asked me to be anything other than what I was. I felt that if I could just capture the feeling of those nights, bottle it, and store it in a safe place inside myself, I could ration it out to last the rest of my life, to erase the turmoil of the last year.”

But, alas, by the time the words were written, the muse had flittered away and stayed on extended sabbatical (at last as far as this image was concerned) for years.  A few weeks ago, however, she returned long enough for me to draft a picture, which eventually became the colorized image you see at the end of the post.  I documented a few steps along the way:

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Before the muse took off for good, I sketched this scene by hand in pencil.  I was trying to capture a vast landscape under a blanket of stars.  Like a Chinese landscape painting, small human figures are present to show how small they are in the grand scheme of this universe of empty wilderness.
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At this point, I have inked the outlines of landscape features such as the Milky Way band, the moon, and the ocean, preferring to stipple in shadows, sand, and other small details with the point of the pen.

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And now, the coloring process has begun.  Although I have begun using computers to make the drawing process easier, I still prefer drawing and coloring the initial print by hand (in this case using colored pencils).
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The colors have now been laid out.  However, there are some details lacking, and the picture is still too light for it to be realistically happening at night.  So now, it’s time to scan the image and work on it digitally.

starlight This is the final image, doctored and detailed with Photoshop Elements. Although it is still brighter than it would be during a real night, there’s enough darkness to convey it’s night while still retaining the details of the beach and its sole inhabitants.

If you enjoyed this post, I’ll have more in the future.  Thanks, as always, for reading.

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Work in Progress – New Thirteenth Hour Drawing

Today, I started work on a new picture of Logan from the The Thirteenth Hour flying on Lightning (and doing a backflip while in the air).  I meant to do something like this some time back and even had some very similar mockup animations I created for a The Thirteenth Hour video game I was planning to make (but sadly did not get finished).  This is going back at least ten years, and not surprisingly given how long everything has taken, I’m finally getting to it now 🙂  Not quite done yet – did the hand drawing and coloring today and will do some touching up on the computer.  After sitting sketching, erasing, and coloring much of the day, I must say my shoulders are sore 🙂
2015-09-27 20.16.34  If you’re subscribed to the mailing list (below), you’ll get an advanced copy when it’s done!

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The Thirteenth Hour is Getting Patched!

After a long week of editing, I’m relieved and proud to say that the second edition of The Thirteenth Hour should be live in the next few days.  Naturally, after I had finished the first edition, I ended up going through and finding a number of areas that I wanted to change.  I also wanted to incorporate some suggestions I’d received from people who were kind enough to read the book early on.

While important, most were not very interesting to write about at length (unless you like formatting and editing documents) – some areas where the spacing wasn’t quite right, a few areas with missing words, some sections that needed to be edited for brevity and/or internal consistency, and a bunch of grammatical corrections to make sure tense, number, and punctuation were as correct as I could get them.  I ended up doing two simultaneous edits – one for Kindle and another for the printed Createspace edition, which had different formatting.

It was a very tedious process, but I did learn something that will be helpful in the future. I discovered that I can’t catch little mistakes like this on a computer screen.  Despite trying to train myself to do more and more on a computer screen in order to save some trees, there’s nothing like paper.  So, I sacrificed one of my printed books to mark up.  There seems to be something about old fashioned paper and red marker that really brings out the crud (even more so than reading out loud, a previous editing trick I tried).  I guess I’m old school in that way.

I did a few tweaks to the pictures as well, including drawing two new pictures to the previously blank “Part 1” and “Part 2” pages of the first edition, like this one of Logan zooming up, up, and away on his flying hoverboard, Lightning.

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There was a picture I omitted from the first edition because something about it didn’t quite look right.  Like the picture above, I was aiming for a silhouette, like an old woodcut or illustration you might see in a children’s book from the 1950s.  It was of the two main characters, Aurora and Logan, and Aurora is kissing Logan goodbye as he leaves the orphanage they grew up in for the Army.  In this part of the book, Logan hasn’t quite hit his last growth spurt yet and is still shorter than Aurora.  He ends up growing a lot over the next year and a half, but in the original drawing (c. 1998, on the left below), I always thought I drew him too small to be believable given his age, and he seems a little too stiff, like he’s on trial or something.  So for the updated 2015 version (on the right), I made him a bit taller, but more slouched and ganglier, less confident.  He’s the same guy who later becomes the daring flying man in the picture above, so he eventually fills out in body and spirit, but at this point in the story, he’s still more boy and man, which is what I was trying to convey all along.

Angels voices part 1 picture comparisonSo this was the fun part of editing.  Hopefully, people who purchased the original on Kindle will be able to re-sync their devices and get the new updates, just like a software patch for a game.  I’m still learning how Amazon does this myself, but they discuss it on their Kindle publishing page.  I’ll be looking forward to seeing them in person myself!

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