Sunday, May 24, 2009


Here they are, in the order that they appeared on the Idol forum in our Round 2 voting thread.

You can go here to read all of the character bios.

The first batch were about Deke, the Half-Orc bounty hunter.

#1--From his bio you know Deke is a Half-Orc. The Orc half is from his mother, but who is his father? Deke doesn't know, but if I'm mentioning it here you can bet that it has some relevance to the story.

#2 All Orcs heal extremely fast, but Deke heals quicker than the average. Especially when it involves magical damage.

#3 Deke has what he considers a very strong gut instinct that has made him extremely successful in hunting down Mages. But is it just a "gut instinct", or is it something more?

#4 Deke is a true fit to his zodiac sign of Taurus: "solidity, practicality, extreme determination and strength of will - no one will ever drive them, but they will willingly and loyally follow a leader they trust."

I'm sure Elias will be happy yo hear that, as long as he can gain that trust.

Next up was Rayna, the Human Mage bartender.

#1 Rayna's favorite movie being "Schindler's List" is more than just "a lot of nonsense". It has some extreme relevance to the story in relation to past, and possible future, events in the history of the Mages.

#2 Rayna works as a bartender at Tolkien's Tavern. In the world of STEEL RISING, Tolkien was a famous anthropologist and writer of "historical fiction".

#3 Rayna's name came from two of my own kids. "Rayna" is my daughter Adeline's Hebrew name and "Miller" is my son Sebastien's middle name.

Not relevant to the story, just a fun fact.

#4 During WW2 a single highly trained Mage could potentially take out an entire tank squadron under the right circumstances. So it's easy to see why they were perceived as a threat to the common man once the war was over.

But what they failed to see was how much more dangerous an untrained Mage could be.

Next up, The Dark One, aka Calev Shahkhor. Dark Elf, politician by day, vllain by night.

#1 It's stated in The Dark One's bio that he has a close past connection to the Black Ruby. But it's more than that. He was once bonded to it when he was a young untrained Mage, just as he needs to find an untrained Mage to bond with it now to unleash it's full power.

#2 Rumors and stories of The Dark One have existed for close to 2000 years, told by parents to scare their children when they're bad. He's like the "boogieman" of this world.

#3. Calev Shahkhor, aka The Dark One, is a loving husband and father of 2 girls and a boy.

[useless fact to accompany that one: when I first started this project I was the father of 2 girls and a boy. We've since added one more little girl to that]

#4 Shahkhor's political campaign is based around Proposition 314, Equal Rights for The Dark Races (Dark Elves, Trolls, Goblins, etc) .

Discrimination against the Dark Races has been growing stronger, and more violent, as the "accepted" races (humans, dwarves, etc) have embraced more modern technology.

A billboard with Shahkhor promoting Prop 314 can be seen on the cover from round 1.

#5 Okay, one more because I'm feeling nice (and because I drank a Starbucks Grande Espresso Truffle much later than I should have).

Calev Shahkhor/ The Dark One was partly inspired by Senator Palpatine/ Darth Sidious. I've always liked the idea of the dual identity where one is a known and powerful public figure.

The next day was supposed to cover Elias, but ended up being random facts.

#1 [This is from a Q&A that was in my local paper last Friday. My first official interview!]

BH-P: I have a love/hate relationship with fantasy. I love to read it, but hate that so much of it is unoriginal and makes me feel like I’m just reading the same story with slightly different characters. I’m always looking for the new twist to my old favorites and one day I just started thinking about how the standard fantasy characters would act and interact in the modern world. But I didn’t want to just stick them in the modern world for them to have an old style adventure. This is a world very, very close to ours, but with elves, dwarves, and orcs a reality things have evolved just a bit differently. I thought hard about how these characters would integrate realistically into the modern world.

I can’t really say much about the story due to the contest restrictions, but there are a lot of political and social issues that I plan to explore. But I won’t beat people over the head with those as the main goal is to tell a fun action-packed story.>>

#2 Let's get to know your Steel Rising creative team!

Two members of the team have served in the military. Writer Brad Huffman-Parent spent 6 years in the US Air Force and colorist Michael Summers spent 8 years in the Navy.

Next up, Kevin the Wood Elf private investigator.

#1 As stated in our premise from Round 1, the wood elves have retreated to the forests and national parks since the build up of the big cities and modern technology. Very few Elves have attempted to integrate into the modern world, and even less have succeeded.

Kevin is an extremely rare exception in first wanting to live in the city, and also being able to do it. Why? You'll have to help us win the big prize to get the full story and the answer to that.

#2 As an Elf, Kevin has extremely heightened senses of sight, smell, and hearing, which have helped lead to his huge success as a private investigator. He has even been called on by the local police to assist in several high profile missing person and kidnapping cases.

#3. Kevin is a technology junkie. From cars and motorcycles, custom built computers, and the latest surveillance equipment, he has it and loves it.

Then I finally got back to feature Elias the Dwarf.

#1 Elias inherited his axe Vespillo from his Great-Grandfather. Grandpa Strongbeard was a famous adventurer of his time, but mysteriously disappeared leaving behind only his axe.

#2 Vespillo \Ves*pil"lo\, n.; pl. Vespilloes. [L.] (Rom. Antiq.)
One who carried out the dead bodies of the poor at night for

Or in simpler terms:

vespillo: undertaker

#3 The Dwarves of Steel Rising have a slightly different internal physiology than their human cousins beyond the obvious physical differences in appearance. Most notably Dwarves have a much more dense bone mass, resulting in heavier weights for their height. A dwarf projected at a brick wall with enough force could potentially break through that wall without suffering any broken bones, although the rest of him may not be in such great shape.

[On the other end of that, Elves have extremely light hollow bones, lending to their exceptional agility.]

And now that all of the characters have been featured, it's time for a bunch or random stuff.

--The concept for Steel Rising was original conceived as an idea for a series of films (at least 3), with the first focusing on the Black Ruby storyline, and the next following the major repercussions of that story (which I obviously can't tell you anything about,except that they are HUGE and take the story in all new directions).

I started writing the first story notes on a pocket-sized notebook while patrolling the desert of Kuwait in 2003. I lost that notebook somewhere on my return to the US, but by that point all of the ideas were stuck firmly in my head.

--Troops of Troll slaves were a key element in the Union's victory in the first Civil War, essentially going against everything they [the Union] were fighting for.

--The 2nd Civil War was fought from 1875-1877, with the main foundation being the equal treatment of what were considered "lesser races"--Trolls, Orcs, Goblins, Dark Elves and more.

This time the division was not based on North and South, but tore apart individual states and cities all across the country.

--The city of Pax Novus, where the majority of the story takes place, was formed shortly after the 2nd Civil War as a place where people of all Races could go without fear of discrimination.

--The effects of World War 2 were so wide-felt that a few of the eldest Dragon's became involved on both sides, leading to some of the most spectacular and famous dogfights ever recorded in the history of modern warfare.

--Wonder who Deke is offering that rose to in his one action pose? Okay, not much of a mystery when there's only one major female character.

The real question is, what happens when the man (or Orc) who hunts Mages for a living finds out the woman he's in love with is one?

--The overall plot of STEEL RISING is already mapped out from beginning to end, broken down into 3 major storylines.

The first deals with the Black Ruby and is expected to take approximately 20-30 issues to tell, ending with a huge event that changes everything and sets the next phase of the story.

--Fun with Numbers

Rayna was born on March 14, 1988.

The Mage Control Act was passed on March 14, 1954, exactly 34 years earlier.

Deke is 34 years old.

Whew, long post but that's the end of the TIDBIT's from the Round 2 thread.

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