Brain fodder

Just wanted to share some recent artworks to come out of the magic idea factory.

As always, these may or may not make it into the book, but I hope you enjoy them.



Authenticity in Fiction

Inspiration can come from anywhere when you’re writing fiction.

But when you’re writing fiction with the hope of creating something that is still realistic, that’s when you often get into doing research.

One thing I really want to get right in creating Earthbound: The Quantum Grail was to have the story feel authentic even though the American Indian characters and their tribe are fictional.

It was important to me that the fictional Tailacoche tribe seem like they could be people who live in Oregon in modern times, with a believable historical background.

And that effort at authenticity has extended to other story elements as well, such as the example below, in which the character of the Enforcer was inspired by actual rock art.

Those who are knowledgeable about indigenous cultures may recognize the kachina-like figure (I think this one’s from Arizona). Similar petroglyphs occur throughout North America, including Oregon, where Earthbound is set.

Obviously, some interpretation and changes are necessary to bring the ancient figure into the future, but the result is a character that melds myth, science and fantasy.


Hearing the voices

If you like my artwork or writings, and you want to help support a struggling writer-slash-illustrator, please check out my GoFundMe page, which was just begun recently. Thank you for your support.

Having strange voices in your head is supposed to be a bad thing. For a writer, though, it’s usually a sign that your story is developing and your characters are becoming personalities in their own right.

I don’t know how many other people do this, but I’ve always since childhood enjoyed imagining that I’m someone else or that I’m meeting an unusual new person in some strange locale.

Maybe I’m just crazy, but that’s how the stories I try to write usually start out, with some imaginary stranger just sitting down and introducing himself or herself. As I work on a story, the characters start to come to life, and they always have more to say. It’s the interactions that eventually become the seeds of the longer tale.

It’s like Arthur, the protagonist of Earthbound: The Quantum Grail, the book I’m working on now. Young Arthur Chavez just started hanging out one day. I soon learned that he was American Indian, a bit of a science nerd, and probably a certified genius, who was conflicted by the tension between his Indian heritage, with its tales of magic, spirits and heroic ancestors, and his desire to learn about science, with its rational world view.

Pretty soon Arthur introduced me to his two best friends, Jimmy and Jennifer, who also happened to be his cousins, and they in turn introduced me to the rest of the extended tribal family. Now there’s a whole community of people who have relationships, history, passionate beliefs, everyday worries and a whole lot of stories to tell.

One of those stories is about the strange goings-on in the tribe’s sacred lands, and it’s the focus of Earthbound, which as the title suggests, is growing organically bit by bit. I hope that one day it will be only the first of many tales.


Just gotta believe

It’s easy to find reasons not to write on a daily basis. Life is chock full of them.

School. Work (or looking for work). Family. Household chores. Car repairs. Emergencies. Illness.

Fear. That’s the real reason behind almost all of them, turns out — at least in terms of them being excuses to not write.

What if I can’t finish the story? What if I can’t publish it? What if the story’s not as good as I thought it would be? What if I really don’t have any talent and friends have just been humoring me? What if I self-publish and then the book just sits there and never sells? What if all that work was for nothing?

When life does intervene, such as with the loss of a job or an unexpected illness, all those fears about writing come to the foreground. That’s basically what’s been happening with me and the rationalizations I’ve made to not publish anything on this blog for more than a month now.

Real-life problems don’t often just resolve themselves, and I am dealing with several issues moving forward, but I’m just going to stop making excuses and blaming everything and everybody around me.

Someone told me recently that you just have to believe you are already what you want to become, you’re just waiting for the rest of the world to catch up and recognize it. That sounds like good advice.

So I’m back.

My name is Derick Winterson. I am a writer and an illustrator, and I have a story to tell.

Stick around, won’t you?





Visualizing the world

Part of the reason I began working with fractal images was that I just wanted a way to supplement some of the fantasy scenes I had in my mind. I use a few different programs, and fractals seemed like they could be useful. They’ve become a kind of obsession now, and instead of being just an illustration tool, some of the fractals I’ve made have inspired scenes and plot points I want to explore in the book. So here are some recent fractal images (plus the mask, which is mostly just Photoshop) that may help shape the story and build the world of Earthbound: The Quantum Grail.

Factory Planet

This is one of those ideas that may or may not be useful, but as usual I just think it’s cool enough to share. I’ve always had hopes that Earthbound could be a series one day. (I know, “finish the first one first, crazy guy.”) If our heroes make it out to space, they will inevitably encounter galactic-scale powers that will dwarf anything Earth has to offer. Inspired a bit by Coruscant in Star Wars and by fractals I saw on Mandelbulb Maniacs, I thought that an overpowering alien empire might have an entire planet devoted to manufacturing their war machines. So here’s a concept picture. I hope you all enjoy it. Below is an earlier picture for the silhouetted spaceship, whose name in the Galactic argot translates into English roughly as “Blind God.”

Handsome Jimmy

Jimmy Worthy heads off into the wilderness on his spirit quest, a rite of passage for young men of the Tailacoche tribe. Jimmy, who recently finished juvenile probation, hopes to prove to his family that he can be responsible and mature. Of course, his little sister hasn’t helped by making him the unwitting subject of the “Handsome Jimmy says” meme after posting a picture of him in a bathing suit on her blog.