Are there Holidays in the World of Keltin Moore?

Yes.

Wow, that was an easy blog article. See you next month!

…oh, did you want me to say more? OK. 🙂

Actually, I’ve thought about holidays in the Keltin Moore stories for a long time. I think that the values of family and spending quality time together would fit in well with this series, and I’m actually planning on including the first officially recognized holiday in book three. Called the Harvest Celebration, it’s meant to commemorate the last day of bringing in the crops and the start of the winter season. While it is most commonly celebrated in rural settings, plenty of urban households across Riltvin, Krendaria, Drutchland, Malpin, and elsewhere also observe this special holiday. While some cities have standardized the specific day of observance, nearly all rural households observe it on the actual day after the harvest is officially over.

The observations of the Harvest Celebration are pretty flexible depending on the household. Decorations prominently feature elements of locally grown crops and are meant as a sign of plenty and prosperity. The majority of the Celebration centers around a feast. The traditional dishes vary from region to region, though they almost always feature a large meat dish as the centerpiece with plenty of sweet and savory dishes to accompany it. While it isn’t strictly a religious holiday, there are traditional prayers of gratitude which are offered and a general spirit of good cheer.

You’ll get to see all of this play out in book three of the Adventures of Keltin Moore, which is coming along nicely, by the way. Definitely out by 2019.

In the meantime, you might consider giving the gift of one or more of my books to somebody for this Christmas season. Just a last-minute shopping idea. 🙂

Merry Christmas!
-Lindsay

Cosplay Advice for the Characters of Keltin Moore

Halloween is coming up soon, and with thoughts of costumes and cosplay on my mind, I thought I’d answer a question that literally swarms of a couple of people have asked me: How to dress up as the characters from the Adventures of Keltin Moore.

Keltin Moore

I’m purposefully vague in a lot of my character descriptions, just because I want to make it easier for readers to put themselves in my characters’ shoes. That being said, Keltin does have some distinct articles and accessories. Most distinctive is his hunting coat, which could be a duster or similar style long-coat in earth tones. He also wears a hat, which I always envisioned as somewhere between a fedora and a cowboy hat – I’m still trying to find one for my own costume. If weapon-props are allowed, Keltin carries a long hunting rifle, a revolver in his belt, a hunting knife, and of course the Ripper, which is essentially a sawed-off glaive or similar pole-arm.

Jaylocke of the Weycliff Wayfarers

The Weycliff people are nomadic entertainers, so Jaylocke’s outfit is likely part-traveling clothes and part-stage costume. He’s described in The Beast Hunter as wearing a vest covered in buttons, which is actually a secret tribute to a gypsy character from the first stage-play I ever wrote called Love’s Folly. Jaylocke’s props are less defined than Keltin’s. He could carry a rifle, the Ripper, or a similar medieval pole-arm weapon. Oh, and a grin. He needs to be grinning. 🙂

Elaine Destov

Elaine comes from a higher class of society than most of Keltin’s associates, but she’s done her fair share of killing beasts as well. A mix of fashionable, yet functional clothes would be good (see General Tips below for the appropriate time period and location). Her weapon of choice is a rifle.

Bor’ve’tai

Good luck with this one! Bor’ve’tai is a Loopi, a sort of ape-man based on the gibbons of southeast Asia. Unlike Chewbacca, he wears the clothing of a laborer on top of his furry body. His favorite weapon is a woodsman’s ax.

General Tips

While the world of Keltin Moore is steampunk fantasy, the steampunk elements tend to be more subtle then other works in the subgenre. A lot of the more fantastic accouterments that punks enjoy (mechanical arms, over-sized wrenches, googles, etc.) don’t really fit in the reality-based world of Keltin Moore. Use late-19th century fashions of both rural United States and Eastern Europe as a general style guide.

Oh, and if any of you come up with a costume for any of the characters of Keltin Moore, please send a picture! I’d love to see it!

There’s a New Keltin Moore Short Story!

Keltin and Jaylocke have traveled to northern Riltvin to investigate reports of beast attacks. Something has been terrorizing the small village of Riksville, and it’s up to the nation’s best beast hunter and his trusty apprentice to stop it. But when Keltin decides that it’s time for Jaylocke to take the lead on a hunt for the first time, the Weycliff wayfarer soon learns that there’s more to beast hunting that just fighting monsters. Fans of Keltin Moore will love this adventure featuring two of Schopfer’s most beloved characters and including never-before revealed details of Keltin’s past.

Loss of a Legend takes place shortly after the events of Into the North.

While this story will no doubt appear in a future anthology at some point, right now the only way to see it is by joining and participating in my Guild of Adventurers. To learn more about how to join this great group of fans, check out my Guild of Adventurers Q&A.

Christmas-Themed Fake Quotes from My Stories

“Keltin, is there such a thing as a snow mirage?”
“What are you talking about, Jaylocke?”
“I’ve heard that in the desert, you can get so hot and thirty that you begin to see things that aren’t really there. Do you think you can get the same thing out here?”
“I doubt it. Why?”
“Look.”
Keltin turned to look where his apprentice was pointing and saw that one of the evergreen trees on the far bank of the Wylow river had been festooned with decorations. Delicate glass ornaments hung from every bough as small woodland creatures scattered silvery strands of tinsel along the green needles. Keltin turned back to Jaylocke as the squirrels and rabbits began laying brightly wrapped packages around the tree trunk.
“I think we’ve been out in the cold too long,” he said.
– (not from) Into the North

“No! I don’t want to!” shouted Vin, the talking sword. “You can’t make me!”
“I can, and I will!” said the knight holding Vin. “Now get in there!”
“No!” screamed Vin as he was plunged into the still body before him. “You monster!”
“Oh hush and carve the turkey,” said the knight.
– (not from) Magic, Mystery and Mirth

“Huh,” said Keltin.
“What is it?” asked Bor’ve’tai.
“Nothing,” said Keltin, looking at the still beast he’d just brought down. “I’ve just never seen a serpent stag with a glowing red nose before.”
– (not from) The Beast Hunter

Well, Journal, there’s good news and bad news. It’s Christmas Day, and against all odds, Santa did come! Unfortunately, instead of six months of food and a shotgun, he brought me dress socks and a sweater with a bird on it.
– (not from) Lost Under Two Moons

Creating the Weycliff Wayfarers

I thought I’d take the opportunity to write a little about one of the more prominent societies presented in The Beast Hunter, my steampunk monster hunter novel and the first installment of The Adventures of Keltin Moore series.

Their Name

Originally, Jaylocke and his people didn’t have an original name and I simply called them gypsies. However, it was never my intention to suggest that these people should be identified as Romanians, and I did a great deal of research to make sure that I avoided having too many similarities with them. My goal with using the word gypsy was to conjure up a fanciful, nonspecific image for the reader, similar to the way that people think of a corsair as merely an exotic pirate as opposed to a citizen of the Ottoman Empire.

I eventually decided to give these mystical, wandering performers a more specific name after talking with a good friend of mine who spent much of his childhood growing up in France. He told me that the term gypsy has a very negative stigma for many Europeans, and that even though he had nothing against Romanian people, he still had a hard time ignoring the prejudices that he had been raised with as he read my story. I decided that it would be better to avoid the risk of alienating any of my European readers while at the same time taking this as an opportunity to get creative and come up with something more original instead.

Their Ancestors

The close relationship between the Weycliff people and their ancestors was actually inspired by my own personal experiences in genealogical research. As a Mormon, I believe that families are eternal, and that it is important to not only know what the names of my ancestors are, but what they were like as well. I took that idea and contrasted it with the way helpful ancestors are often portrayed in other fantasy novels as being little more than a nameless group of spirits with no real personalities of their own.

I thought it might be more interesting if a wayfarer had to know his family history in order to choose which ancestor to call on in any given situation. The result was a magic system that was both straightforward and complex, with a lot of opportunity for unique subplots and conflicts along the way. The only downside to this approach is that I have to maintain an increasingly complex family tree and family history for Jaylocke as I write the series to avoid giving him one-too-many great-grandmothers, but I think it’s definitely worth it.

Their Place in the World of Keltin Moore

While I did avoid using the term gypsy to avoid possible reader prejudice, it was always my intention that the Weycliff wayfarers would be the victim of bigotry and stereotyping. Along with the Loopi, the wayfarers have to deal with hostility and distrust from their fellow hunters to such a degree that it eventually becomes one of the key dynamics in the novel’s second act.

Interestingly, when I had my Beta read for The Beast Hunter, one of my readers said that she felt that the hunters’ prejudice was unmotivated. In her eyes, there wasn’t anything in the behavior of the Weycliff that justified the level of animosity that they were faced with. While I appreciated her comments, I decided to leave the relationship between the hunters and wayfarers the way it was, as I believe that prejudice is, among other things, an unjustified reaction to someone else just because they are different.

Rejected Titles for Lost Under Two Moons

Norman Mailer said “if you have to pick [the title] after the book is done, it’s like trying to buy the right wedding ring.” This was definitely the case with my first novel. In fact, the book didn’t even have a working title until the first draft was finished. For the longest time, I called it Other World: Survival, but I never really liked the name.

It wasn’t until I started assembling a BETA read team that I finally decided to pick a title. I knew it would have to be something unique while being easy to remember. I started brainstorming any titles that might even remotely work. Vague, obscure, clichéd… it all went into the list that I then sent on to my test readers to vote on.

After I sent out the list, I realized that I was actually hoping that one title in particular would win. I started to worry that no-one else would like it, but when the results came back I found that it had gotten the second-most votes from my readers. That was good enough for me, and the book was known from that point on as Lost Under Two Moons.

Having said all that, I thought it’d be fun to share some of the possible titles that were sent to my BETA readers to consider. Here are some of the more interesting ones:

A Journal from Another World
Alone In an Alien Nowhere
Alone With The Bigamouths
Cry of the Bigamouth
How I Survived Other World
I Want to go Home
“I’m Not on Earth Anymore”
Journal from Another World
Letters from Another World
Lost on an Unknown World
My Life on Other World
No Man’s Land
Other World Castaway
Planet Stranded
Stalked by Bigamouths
Survival on Another World
The World of Mr. Screech

…and perhaps the oddest of all…

Utility Knife On Another World

The Spell of the Yukon

As part of my research for Into the North, I read a lot of stories, poems, and songs penned about and by the prospectors of the Yukon Gold Rush in the late 19th century. Just for fun, here’s one of the shorter pieces that I found.

The Spell of the Yukon

I wanted the gold, and I sought it;
I scrabbled and mucked like a slave.
Was it famine or scurvy – I fought it;
I hurled my youth into a grave.
I wanted the gold, and I got it –
Came out with a fortune last fall, –
Yet somehow life’s not what I thought it,
And somehow the gold isn’t all.

No! There’s the land. (Have you seen it?)
It’s the cussedest land that I know,
From the big, dizzy mountains that screen it
To the deep, deathlike valleys below.
Some say God was tired when He made It;
Some say it’s a fine land to shun;
Maybe; but there’s some as would trade it
For no land on earth – and I’m one.

You come to get rich (damned good reason);
You feel like an exile at first;
You hate it like hell for a season,
And then you are worse than the worst.
It grips you like some kinds of sinning;
It twists you from foe to a friend;
It seems it’s been since the beginning;
It seems it will be to the end.

I’ve stood in some mighty-mouthed hollow
That’s plumb-full of hush to the brim;
I’ve watched the big, husky sun wallow
In crimson and gold, and grow dim,
Till the moon set the pearly peaks gleaming,
And the stars tumbled out, neck and crop;
And I’ve thought that I surely was dreaming,
With the peace o’ the world piled on top;

The summer – no sweeter was ever;
The sunshiny woods all athrill;
The grayling aleap in the river,
The bighorn asleep on the hill.
The strong life that never knows harness;
The wilds where the caribou call;
The freshness, the freedom, the farness –
O God! how I’m stuck on it all.

The winter! the brightness that blinds you,
The white land locked tight as a drum,
The cold fear that follows and finds you,
The silence that bludgeons you dumb.
The snows that are older than history,
The woods where the weird shadows slant;
The stillness, the moonlight, the mystery,
I’ve bade ’em good-by – but I can’t.

There’s a land where the mountains are nameless,
And the rivers all run God knows where;
There are lives that are erring and aimless,
And deaths that just hang by a hair;
There are hardships that nobody reckons;
There are valleys unpeopled and still;
There’s a land – oh, it beckons and beckons,
And I want to go back – and I will.

They’re making my money diminish;
I’m sick of the taste of champagne.
Thank God! when I’m skinned to a finish
I’ll pike to the Yukon again.
I’ll fight – and you bet it’s no sham-fight;
It’s hell! – but I’ve been there before;
And it’s better than this by a damsite –
So me for the Yukon once more.

There’s gold, and it’s haunting and haunting;
It’s luring me on as of old;
Yet it isn’t the gold that I’m wanting
So much as just finding the gold.
It’s the great, big, broad land ‘way up yonder,
It’s the forests where silence has lease;
It’s the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
It’s the stillness that fills me with peace.

The Collected Poems of Robert Service

Copyright 1907, 1909, 1912 by Dodd, Mead and Company, Inc.

Fake Quotes from My Stories

Jaylocke inched closer to Keltin, doing his best to remain silent in the deep snow.
“Aren’t you going to take the shot?” he asked, nodding towards the beast moving along the far bank of the icy river.
“I can’t,” Keltin whispered.
“Why not?”
“I can’t pull the trigger while wearing these mittens.”
– (not from) Into the North

“Die, foul wizard!” screamed Eric as he launched himself into the room, only to be met by a young man in strange clothing with some sort of puppet on his knee.
“Err, I think you’re in the wrong story,” said the young man.
“Oops, sorry about that.”
“Try knocking next time!” said the puppet.
– (not from) Magic, Mystery and Mirth

Baron Rumsfeld turned to Keltin.
“Captain Moore, I need a brave volunteer for a dangerous mission.”
Keltin nodded somberly. “All right. Let me go look for one.”
– (not from) The Beast Hunter

This world is completely alien. the sky, the land, the moons. Two moons. How can that be? I must be on another world, as impossible as that sounds. Alone and stranded on an alien world. And before you ask, no, I don’t have any cell coverage here.
– (not from) Lost Under Two Moons