The Kold Kronicles – weaponry

The Kold Kronicles – weaponry

Readers of The Kold Kronicles, Book 1: Discovery, will have noted that Sylvern and Shadow tend to prefer bladed weapons when they fight.  Varben can morph into projectile weapons of any kind as well as the variety of bladed weapons preferred by many of the main characters.  It’s also obvious that I have a fair amount of time for the katana. I have an interest in all things Japanese and this sword is not only deadly, but it has a beauty that is difficult to define.  How can something so deadly look so exquisite?  The classic fusion of art, design, functionality – and death.  

There are also a variety of Roman weapons, for example, Bracken’s gladius. A weapon designed to do but one thing, kill.  As to the choice of the weapon for the characters, each ‘suited’ what I thought the character, and their Varben, would prefer.  It’s what they ‘told’ me they would choose and who am I to argue with a battle-hardened Sylvern and their Varben?  

I’ll be writing about the Varben and their genesis next week.  They’re interesting characters to put together. I’m smiling as I write this as I have Alegria’s Varben, Zastra, in mind.  Superficially cynical but very proud of his Sylvern although he hides this well.  His delight is when he reels Alegria in.  

JJ Mitchell

‘Never leave anyone behind…’

The Kold Kronicles – its genesis

The Kold Kronicles – its genesis

It’s interesting reading why some authors write what they do or even why they feel the need to write.  Some have something to say; others want to make a difference; and quite a few mention that the book demanded to be written.  Invariably, it’s a mix.  

I have to admit that the main reason for writing The Kold Kronicles was that Alegria, the main character, demanded to be ‘heard’.  As the book evolved, other characters, Nux, Bracken and so on, also began to develop a strong voice demanding that I also write about them.  So I did.  

My second reason for writing The Kold Kronicles is that I had something to say.  I wanted to take away the ‘glamour’ that can sometimes be associated with violence.  You’ll have seen the kind of thing I’m talking about. The main character, male or female, takes on seven or eight armed killers and within forty seconds has despatched all of them.  Usually quite graphically.  The sound of broken bones is heard and much gore is seen. The victor looks at all the vanquished bodies, usually corpses, shrugs and makes a pun / joke and walks out, unharmed, unbruised, and breathing quite normally.  There’s no smell of bodily fluids or matter, no screaming of the wounded, no bruised knuckles on the victor, nothing.  It’s clinical, it’s video gaming.  What I find disturbing is that many who see this kind of ‘entertainment’, (and I have no issues with it, it’s just not my preferred choice,) confuse it with the reality of fighting.  They think that if they become involved in something similar they’ll be able to do the same.  Unfortunately, reality kicks in, sometimes literally, and they end up in pain, in hospital and, sometimes, in prison.  

The Kold Kronicles can be quite violent and I have deliberately made it so.  I have also made clear the cost of any combat in which our protagonists are involved.  It’s the reason why the Sylvern have Healers and Talkers available immediately a War Band returns from any operation where combat is experienced.  

To repeat, any form of violence, be it verbal or physical, has a cost on all involved.  We only have to look at the recent events in Paris to see this is so.  Survivors will need time to recover not only physically, but also emotionally and mentally.  Those close to them require, and deserve, the same level of support and understanding.  

So, I wrote The Kold Kronicles because the characters ‘shouted’ at me to write about them.  It’s an adventure story, it’s about love, there’s meant to be some humour and it’s also a tad violent.  However, we forget the implications of violence at our peril.  That’s also what I wanted to write about.  Both were the genesis of The Kold Kronicles.  

JJ Mitchell

‘Never leave anyone behind…’

Violence always has a cost…

Violence always has a cost…

I know I am not alone when I looked on in horror at what happened in Paris on Friday, 13 November.  The violence was as extreme as it was obscene and all in the name of a perverted view of a faith-based belief system.  Others, so much more eloquent than I, have written, spoken about, and analysed what happened.  As I was listening to witnesses, especially those in the concert venue, Bataclan, where many heard shooting but thought it to be fireworks, I could imagine that some listeners may have thought, ‘why didn’t you run away?’  I have an idea why.  They had no experience of this kind of thing.  They had no context with which to compare it. Hence the lack of immediate action one should take when faced with this kind of threat – that of running away. The same thing at the Stade de France when the bomber suicided.  ‘We thought it was a firework…’  As I listened further I thought, ‘there but for the grace of God, (whoever he or she is), go I.’  

The fallout from this, on the parents, brothers, sisters, relations, and friends of those who were lost and those who witnessed indescribable horror, can only be imagined.  The latter are the ‘living wounded’ who will take the pictures in their mind to their grave.  There will be guilt at surviving, guilt at wishing the murderers, for that is what they were, were elsewhere and that it was somebody else being killed.  ‘Just not me…’  They may have come face to face with an element of themselves that they never knew existed.  To some this may be difficult to forget.  There will also be the anger of those who were not there but are bearing witness to the damage of those who were.  

The work now begins.  Survivors, wounded by blast or bullet, those ‘wounded’ by their experience, and those ‘wounded’ by seeing the hurt inflicted on loved ones, will need time, our patience and our support.  They have a right to this.  It is a human right.  Those that inflicted this on their fellow human beings, well, where can one start?  One day they will pay in one form or another.  Violence always has a cost…

JJ Mitchell

‘Never leave anyone behind…’

It’s a funny thing…

It’s a funny thing…

The art of writing a book, and it is an art, (I’m not saying art-form), is to make sure it’s coherent and consistent.  One of the things I’ve learnt in writing the first Kold Kronicle book is that if you don’t make sure it is, it just jars.  When going through the ‘reading aloud’ editing session with Polly, it was quite noticeable how we would pause and go, ‘No, he wouldn’t say that…’  or ‘Hmm, I think she might say it a different way.’  The beauty of the written word is how it ‘sounds’ when you read it aloud.  

The other part of writing a book isn’t an ‘art’ as such, it’s technical / mechanical with a strong artistic element.  The first thing is that you need to ensure that if you use any graphics then you have the copyright, (we have and we do.)  I have a strong belief that if a graphic artist creates a piece of work and you use it then it should be paid for.  Same for websites such as this.  The work that goes into these artistic elements is considerable and is invariably a ‘below the line’ activity, i.e. you don’t see how much work has actually been done.  That’s the skill of the artist and the web designer by the way.  There’s also the need for a book to have an ISBN number.  Initially quite daunting, the help from the folk at Nielsen UK ISBN Agency was quite outstanding.  Approachable, knowledgeable, and with a wicked sense of humour, they made this potentially confusing part of producing your own book so easy.   

So, let’s hear it for those who create the beautiful artwork, design the websites, and others who ensure the book can be found anywhere in the world by typing in a simple number.  Without them, authors like me would be lost.  

Thank you all.  

JJ Mitchell

‘Never leave anyone behind…’