Posts Tagged ‘Lego’

I’ve been making Lego models of my books again. This week, a scene from Victorian steampunk adventure Guns and Guano, available for free from Amazon and Smashwords.

Governor Cullen throws a party welcoming the adventurers of the Epiphany Club to his island.

Governor Cullen throws a party welcoming the adventurers of the Epiphany Club to his island.

Sir Timothy Blaze-Simms entertains the guests by making an engine out of a napkin and a wine bottle. Don't forget, Sir Timothy, you're hear on a mission!

Sir Timothy Blaze-Simms entertains the guests by making an engine out of a napkin and a wine bottle. Don’t forget, Sir Timothy, you’re here on a mission!

Governor Cullen tries to get Dirk Dynamo into the party spirit, while Isabelle McNair chats with Braithwaite and his impressive beard. Look how much Dirk loves a party!

Governor Cullen tries to get Dirk Dynamo into the party spirit, while Isabelle McNair chats with Braithwaite and his impressive beard. Look how much Dirk loves a party!

Drugged and cast out on the Yorkshire Moors by the villainous Abbot Arnulf, Sir Richard de Motley finds himself battling a throng of fluffy demons.

Drugged and cast out on the Yorkshire Moors by the villainous Abbot Arnulf, Sir Richard de Motley finds himself battling a throng of fluffy demons.

Continuing my new hobby of making scenes from my stories out of Lego, this week’s production is from the story ‘Leprosaria’ in my fantasy short story collection By Sword, Stave or Stylus, which is free on Amazon today – why not go download a copy and find out how Sir Richard got into this mess.

When I go on holiday, even though I leave the writing behind I always find myself stumbling across inspiration. Of note this time…

Walking with (slightly unconvincing) dinosaurs, great for ideas for monsters.

Walking with (slightly unconvincing) dinosaurs, great for ideas for monsters.

One scientist's idea of intelligent life evolving from dinosaurs. Star of some future story.

One scientist’s idea of intelligent life evolving from dinosaurs. Star of some future story.

Dorchester's teddy bear museum, a place of the uncanny and terrible puns.

Dorchester’s teddy bear museum, a place of the uncanny and of many terrible bear-related puns. For any Thomas Hardy fans out there, this is the family of the Bear of Casterbridge. Because Bear = Mayor, and Casterbridge was based on Dorchester. Funny, right? Right? Why are you not laughing? I did.

Why yes, a soft toy of an infamous sadist sounds like an excellent idea. That's an inspiringly wrong juxtaposition of elements.

Why yes, a soft toy of an infamous sadist sounds like an excellent idea. That’s a brilliantly wrong juxtaposition of elements.

A tree with a scarf. I love it when random creativity escapes into the world like this.

A tree with a scarf. I love it when random creativity escapes into the world like this.

Not story inspiration but I made all my old Lego! And half my brother's! So much fun.

Not story inspiration but I made all my old Lego! And half my brother’s! And a new set I bought! So much fun.

Finally, the best cheesecake I've ever tasted, and I eat a lot of cheesecake. If you're ever in Dorchester, check out the Old Tea House.

Finally, the best cheesecake I’ve ever tasted, and I eat a lot of cheesecake. If you’re ever in Dorchester, check out the Old Tea House.

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Continuing my recent hobby of illustrating my stories using Lego, here’s a scene from my upcoming Victorian action novella, Epiphany Club 1: Guns and Guano. When ninjas infiltrate the library of the prestigious Epiphany Club, adventurers Dirk Dynamo and Sir Timothy Blaze-Simms find themselves fighting for their lives and for an ancient artefact.

I bought certain Lego sets just to make those ninjas, that’s how much fun I’m having with this!

Now in Colour!

Now in Colour!

Guns and Guano will be out by the end of March, and free on Kindle as soon as I can arrange that. An adventure story flavoured with steampunk and fantasy, it’s the first in a series I’m bringing out this year, and it reads something like this:

Dirk Dynamo is enjoying a life of learning with the gentlemen adventurers of the Epiphany Club. Joining an expedition to find the Great Library of Alexandria, Dirk finds himself on the island of Hakon, where colonial life is not what it seems. With monsters in the jungle, conspiracies in the mansion and ninjas dogging his trail, can Dirk and his friends find the first clue to the Library before they meet a deadly fate?

I’m in the last throws of editing, and more news will follow as soon as I have it!

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Facing off against the mad genius.

I love Lego. I love telling stories. What better way to combine my passions than by building Lego models based on my own stories? So here’s my depiction of gentleman adventurers Dirk Dynamo and Sir Timothy Blaze-Simms battling the preserved head of Leonardo da Vinci. Da Vinci has been lurking for centuries in the sewers below Venice, perfecting his army of automata and preparing to take over the world.

Getting up close with danger.

Getting up close with danger.

Pity poor Leonardo - it's lonely being a mad genius.

Pity poor Leonardo – it’s lonely being a mad genius.

I had great fun doing this, and will definitely make more. Next time ninja!

The full story of ‘The Secret in the Sewers’ can be found in my steampunk short story collection Riding the Mainspring, free to anyone signing up to my mailing list.

One of the things I love about writing challenges is the different ways people interpret the same brief. It’s fascinating how our minds go in different directions from the same starting point.

My friends and I went through a similar experience last week when I set them a Lego building challenge. It was:

Build a Lego spaceship called the Terrible Turtle, to whatever scale and style suits you. It has to have:
– space for at least two crew
– a secret compartment
– some obvious propulsion system

And here were the results:

The Terrible Turtle by Dr Nick

The Terrible Turtle by Dr Nick

First up is Dr Nick’s Terrible Turtle. Dr Nick had an edge on the rest of us, as he’s a naval architect, so pretty expert at ship design. But he’s also a very busy man who ran out of time for a big build, so made the most of ‘whatever scale suits you’. I like how much you can evoke with so little Lego, like when the perfect word tells you everything about a scene or character. Also the lasers are firing, which is cool.

The Terrible Turtle by Monkey Ghost Presents

The Terrible Turtle by Monkey Ghost Presents

The next Terrible Turtle was designed by Matt, who does cool illustrations as Monkey Ghost Presents, which you should all check out. It turns out he’s also something of a perfectionist, who got really into working out how to make functional landing gear. This picture doesn’t quite capture the full majesty of those mechanisms, but does show what a sleek, functional minifig-scale ship he came up with. I also like its backstory, in which it’s made up of parts from different ships. Thinking about the history of places and characters can help inspire interesting details, in writing as in Lego.

Andy spaceship

The Terrible Turtle by Andrew Knighton

Last is my own entry. If you’re thinking ‘that looks like half a castle stuck on top of a frisbee’ then you’re not far wrong, as I didn’t check whether I had ship-shaped bricks before setting the challenge. Still, there’s a detailed engine under the hood and a secret compartment under the captain’s cabin.

Space Batman wants to know who stole his face

Space Batman wants to know who stole his face

Being a writer, I of course got into thinking about characters too, and assembled a distinctive crew. They may not be the heroes this universe needs. In fact, given that they’re drunk in charge of a spaceship, they’re probably not heroes at all. But I had fun inventing them.

If anybody reading this feels like assembling, drawing, writing about or otherwise presenting their own take on the Terrible Turtle I’d love to see it. But for now it’s Saturday, and I’m off to play with my Lego.

Have a fun weekend!

And we’re back…

Posted: January 5, 2015 in writing life
Tags: , ,

Happy New Year everyone!

I can’t say the last few weeks have been as quiet as the blog. Laura and I have had three Christmas celebrations, two stays with my brother and his family, and one gaming convention, all in the space of a fortnight. I’ve eaten and drunk more than is healthy, exercised less than I should, and generally enjoyed letting it all go for a couple of weeks.

Festive highlights have included:

  • watching my dad laugh hysterically while my nieces rolled him around in a half-inflated air mattress and shouted ‘sausage roll!’
  • lots of playing with Lego – I got two new sets, then immediately took them apart to build an airship
  • listening to the finale of Radio 4’s hilarious Cabin Pressure
  • this lovely pair of notebooks from my brother and his family:

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Hopefully by tomorrow I’ll have something more coherent to say than ‘look, I’m still here!’, but I’m still fighting through the junk food fatigue, so for now that’ll do.

Hope you all had a great holiday. What were your highlights?