[Subscribers received this post as a newsletter on January 16, 2023.]
Hope you had a great holiday season. I'm a bit late with the fourth quarter newsletter but launched some great new stuff for the new year.
I hope you’ve had a chance to explore the first Earthpillar Online interactive project, a click-through of the rooms of Thorendor Castle, where the Order of Candlestone resides during Lords of Deception.
Similar to a hypertext novel or a choose-your-own-adventure, you explore the castle as one of Master Arasemis’s students by viewing and reading about wall paintings (Earthpillar artwork), reading excerpts from in-world books, and searching for hidden keys and other secrets, without stumbling into significant spoilers if you haven't read the novels yet.
Last year’s launch of the first floor of the castle included 13 rooms, nearly 50 images, and several hidden keys and other objects.
The new second floor has 14 rooms, 180 images, and even more hidden materials! And nearly every image has description and lore, so Thorendor Castle has already become a book-length project.
Aside from that, you can also read more than two dozen excerpts of in-world books and correspondence, view candle alchemy schematics, and much more.
The second floor rooms include the students’ quarters, Master Arasemis’s private quarters, treasury vault, shrine, and a workshop for the mechanism powering the training hall above. If you’ve read Lords of Deception, this last bit will make sense. If you haven’t, the floor of the training hall is designed to move up and down to create various terrain using a mechanical system under each individual floor tile.
I also received great feedback on the project from readers, including new Earthpillar subscribers (welcome!), as well as from two established authors.
"That...was amazing. Both for the creative aspect, and the shear artistic value."
— Raymond St. Elmo, author extraordinaire
"I love this so much! It reminds me of playing those interactive text-based fiction games."
— Delilah Waan, author of the Resonance Crystal Legacy series
New AI Artwork
I continue to use the Midjourney AI tool for Earthpillar concept art and for Thorendor Castle. The new V4 version is even better, so I’ve replaced some images from the Thorendor Castle first floor.
I’ve also experimented with the tool a lot more, to see what it can do. The results still need manual editing and paintovers (I added the black fox to the below mountain, for example). But the results have been great overall, and the scale of the Earthpillar Online project wouldn't be possible without it.
Price Drop Still Active
The price drop for Lords of Deception and The Depths of Redemption is still active! The e-book versions remain at 99 cents to celebrate 3 years since LOD was published.
That's all for now. If you're enjoying Earthpillar, particularly the free content like Thorendor Castle, please share with a friend. Word-of-mouth sharing is the best compliment and critical for the success of indie authors and creatives.
Thanks for reading!